Article

Blatter backtracks on racism punishments

5 April 2013 18:39

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has backtracked on calls for clubs to be relegated if their supporters are found guilty of racism.

Blatter initially suggested relegation and points deductions for fans found guilty of racial abuse as part of severe sanctions in the wake of an incident involving Kevin-Prince Boateng in January.

Boateng was subjected to racial taunts during AC Milan's friendly against fourth-tier club Pro Patria, which led to the Ghanaian walking off the pitch in protest, joined by his team-mates.

Having previous called for tough new sanctions to combat the issue, Blatter has since retracted his comments during an event in Zurich on Friday.

"How far should we go? Where should we stop?" the 77-year-old Swiss told reporters.

"Can we bring an end to violence or racism by docking points or relegating a team? Or would such measures lead people to come to games to get the match abandoned.

"We should do all we can but there's a danger that if we have matches replayed or if we punish clubs on the sporting front, it will open the door to hooligan groups who will come to deliberately cause trouble. There is so much emotion surrounding football."

A proposal for uniform sanctions across all of FIFA's member associations is still due to be put to a vote in May.

"The same standard must apply for each and every league and national association," he said.

Blatter also said football must do everything in its power to eradicate match-fixing.

"Obviously football is also in danger," he said. "In danger because of issues that happen within our society.

"When those spill over into our game, we become the victims of this society. When you are talking of violence, of cheating, manipulation, when we are talking of doping , when we are talking of racism.

"But when talking about match-fixing and manipulation, it's our own fault.

"Without football, there wouldn't be any match-fixing. That's where we need to come in - hard."

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