May 31, 2013, 9:43 AM EDT
This morning the world governing body has spoken.
Everybody should be listening to this.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced new laws that could see teams relegated or expelled from their league, should their fans be found guilty of racist abuse.
These new measures will prove popular with many, after fines have been repeatedly handed out to some FIFA members and certain clubs but racist chanting and taunts from fans has remained.
But now repeated offenders will be given points deductions, face relegation or be expelled from soccer altogether.
Speaking at the FIFA congress in Mauritius, Jeff Webb (head of Fifa’s anti-racism task force) said today was a defining moment in the battle against racism.
“Our football family is fully aware that what is reported in the media is actually less than 1% of the incidents that happen around the world,” Webb said. “We’ve got to take action so that when we look to the next 20 or 50 years this will be the defining time that we took action against racism and discrimination.”
But will these new measures really be as groundbreaking as we think? I’m not so sure.
Yes, the new laws were passed by 99% of FIFA’s members. But there is still a lingering doubt in the back of my mind, as to how hard FIFA will really clamp down on this despicable form of discrimination.
The next two or three incidents where racism rears its ugly head at a soccer game, sadly that will happen, FIFA will come down hard on the perpetrators. But will it keep dishing out expulsions, point deductions and relegations?
I don’t think so.
And one thing is irking me. How can once incident against Kevin-Prince Boateng in January back spark all this? Racism was/is commonplace in several of FIFA’s member countries, yet $70,000 or $100,000 fines were dished out here and there for years.
Boateng walking off the pitch after huge amounts of racist abuse sent shock-waves around the world. People sat up and took notice of the awful epidemic sweeping the game.
These new laws will make clubs sit up and take notice, too. That is a great thing. Because up until now society has got the blame and teams have not been thorough enough in trying to educate their fans and aiming to eradicate racism from the beautiful game.
New tougher measures were needed. But should it really have taken this long?
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