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Ferdinand slams FIFA´s weak stance on racism

8 October 2008 16:00

LONDON (AFP) - Rio Ferdinand has launched a blistering attack on FIFA for failing to deal with racism in football after Croatia were fined just 14,920 pounds (19,084 euros) for abuse aimed at England striker Emile Heskey in Zagreb.

Heskey was subjected to monkey chants from a section of the crowd as England won 4-1 in the Maksimir Stadium last month and Ferdinand believes it deserved tougher punishment from world football's governing body.

The Manchester United and England defender is calling for points to be deducted in future if FIFA and UEFA, Europe's governing body, are serious about eradicating racism from the game.

"The football authorities need to look at themselves. They make a lot of comments and say they are going to do this or that but they never back up the words with actions," told BBC Radio Five Live:

"Croatia were fined a few thousand quid. What good is that going to do? They will just keep doing it.

"FIFA fining the Croatian Federation a few quid is not going to stop people shouting racist or homophobic abuse.

"If they keep doing things like this you have to take points off them. Then the punters will start thinking if they do it, the team is going to be punished."

Ferdinand's point is strengthened by the fact last month's game was not the first time Croatian fans have hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this year; the Croatian Football Federation also fined a smaller amount following racist chants from supporters during a Euro 2008 quarter-final against Turkey.

FIFA has made it's position on racist chanting clear and accompanied its latest fine with a statement that read: "Racism has no place in football. FIFA is determined to continue broadcasting this message around the globe and deploying all of the means at its disposal to eliminate this form of discrimination."

The sport's governing body also warned Croatia of "more severe sanctions" if their fans transgressed again. But Ferdinand still feels not enough is being done.

"These people at FIFA and UEFA seem to like talking about a lot of stuff that is fashionable at the time," he said. "They don't deal with the important things in the right manner.

"I would love to see them stand up and dish out the right punishments for these incidents. (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter likes to speak up about things that are good for FIFA's image. It would be nice to see him do the same about racism."

English Football Association chairman Lord Triesman has already called for urgent discussions with FIFA to discuss how future cases of racist chanting can be dealt with.

"I intend to seek an early meeting with Sepp Blatter to discuss the response to racism," he said. "I want to make sure that the response to instances of racist abuse are dealt with fully and effectively."

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