FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said soccer’s governing body will question 2018 World Cup host Russia about racist incidents at matches after Manchester City’s Yaya Toure said he was abused by CSKA Moscow fans.
Speaking to reporters in London yesterday, Valcke said he will meet with Alexei Sorkin, the chief executive of Russia’s 2018 World Cup organizing committee, in Moscow to discuss the issue this week.
“The Russian authorities and local organizing committee are working together to try and solve this problem,” Valcke said.
A day earlier, speaking at the English Football Association’s 150th anniversary dinner in London, FIFA President Sepp Blatter renewed his call for tougher sanctions on soccer teams whose fans racially abuse players, including points penalties and banning them from competitions.
Blatter, 77, said punishments imposed by European body UEFA, such as fines and banning fans from stadiums, are insufficient and called them “a nonsense.”
On Oct. 23, City midfielder Toure said he was subjected to racist chants by CSKA Moscow fans during a Champions League match in the Russian capital. The club denied the incident but UEFA said it will penalize the Russian club.
On Oct. 4, UEFA fined Italy’s Lazio 40,000 euros ($55,000) and ordered the club to play in a partly-empty stadium for one match after racist chanting by its supporters. Croatia’s Rijeka and Dinamo Zagreb, Cyprus’s APOEL, and Poland’s Legia Warsaw have also received UEFA penalties after racism by fans.
Blatter said such sanctions don’t go far enough.
“It is a nonsense for racism to be dealt with by fines, you can always find money from somebody to pay them,” Blatter told an audience that included UEFA President Michel Platini. “It is a nonsense to have matches played without spectators because it is against the spirit of football and against the visiting team.
“We need to eliminate teams from a competition or deduct points,” Blatter said. “Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination. If we don’t do that it will go on and go on.”
Blatter made similar comments in January.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Priechenfried at the London Sports Desk at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser in London at firstname.lastname@example.org