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FIFA’s Blatter Urges Ousting of Teams For Fans’ Racism

Manchester City Midfielder Toure
On Oct. 23, Manchester City midfielder Toure said he was subjected to racist chants by CSKA Moscow fans during a Champions League match in the Russian capital. Photographer: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

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.

The head of the sport’s ruling body 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, Manchester City midfielder Yaya 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, speaking at the English Football Association’s 150th anniversary dinner in London last night, 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,” the 77-year-old added. “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.

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