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FIFA Threatens Hard-Line Approach to Racism

Sports | January 25, 2013, Friday // 09:05| Views: 741 | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: FIFA Threatens Hard-Line Approach to Racism "It is not enough to give a fine," Blatter told FIFA.com. "Playing a game without spectators is one of the possible sanctions, but the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team. Photo by CNN

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has called for clubs to be punished with points deductions and relegation if they are found guilty of racist abuse.

"It is not enough to give a fine," Blatter told FIFA.com. "Playing a game without spectators is one of the possible sanctions, but the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team, because finally the club is responsible for their spectators."

"It is a phenomena where football is a victim of our society," added Blatter.

"Discrimination and racism is everywhere in our society. We in football cannot be made responsible for what happens in our society.

"But nowhere in the world -- regarding all the problems you can have in your private life, in business, in politics -- can you solve a problem by running away.

"I agree with and support the movement of Boateng -- as I have said -- as it was a strong warning. It is now up to us to take the adequate steps.

"What I feel we should do is give instructions to our national associations and the confederations -- specifically to the disciplinary committees -- to be very strong."

The ugly face of racism has reared its head far too often over the past 18 months with several high-profile incidents catching the headlines.

Earlier this month FIFA imposed a one-match spectator ban on Bulgaria for racist abuse by their fans of a Denmark player.

FIFA explained: "It was reported by both the referee and the Match Commissioner ...that Denmark's Patrick Mtiliga was subjected to racist abuse by a group of Bulgarian supporters each time he touched the ball after entering the field in the 54th minute.

"In the 73rd minute, the Match Commissioner spoke to the 4th official, and a public address warning was given to the home fans by the announcer. Although the level of abuse subsided, audible racist abuse still continued until the final whistle."

FIFA sanctions against Bulgaria was unprecedented since this was the first time that the governing body barred fans from attending a match due to discrimination issues.

Bulgaria has vowed to appeal.

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