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Fifa head Sepp Blatter to set up anti-racism body

Fifa president says football needs a ‘united front’ to stamp out racist taunts

Gulf News

Edinburgh: Fifa President Sepp Blatter announced plans for a task force to tackle racism in football on Friday and said he will hold talks with a player who took a stand by walking off in response to racial taunts.

AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng became the focus of the anti-racism struggle in football when he led teammates off the pitch in protest at abuse from fans of a fourth-tier Italian team during a friendly in January.

Blatter faced criticism for saying that players must not run away from problems by unilaterally leaving the pitch but later praised Boateng for taking a “strong and courageous stand”.

The Ghana midfielder will now make a courtesy visit to see Blatter at Fifa headquarters in Zurich on March 22.

Blatter also disclosed that a new anti-racism task force will be headed by Jeffrey Webb, president of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).

Blatter is calling for a “united front of the football community in our zero-tolerance policy against racism.”

“We have to work on it but we cannot do it alone,” Blatter said in the Scottish capital. “It is a big, big problem also of education and understanding, and [needs] a little bit also of solidarity.

“But we will do it because we have to kick it out.”

Racism has appeared to be particularly prevalent again in English football in the past two years. There has been a spate of arrests for abuse at matches while Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Chelsea captain John Terry served bans for racially abusing opponents.