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SBD Global/January 21, 2013/International Football

Sepp Blatter Gets Tough On Racism, Says Guilty Clubs Could Get Demoted

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has "called for points deductions and even relegation to be considered for teams or federations associated with racist offences," according to Mark Bryans of the PA. Blatter, 76, "has been criticised in the past" for some of his comments made surrounding discrimination in the game. Blatter posted comments on his official Twitter account Sunday which "appear to indicate a hardening of his stance on the issue." Blatter wrote, "Sanctions against discriminatory acts must be very severe. We will discuss this at next Strategic Committee in 3 weeks." He added: "Deduction of points/team relegation. Financial sanctions: not efficient. Matches behind closed doors: not good solution" (DAILY MAIL, 1/20). The AFP reported Blatter said at a news conference in St. Petersburg, Russia Sunday that "without heavy punishment racism would remain within the sport." Blatter: "The entire world fights against racism and discrimination. Football is part of the world's society. We unite more than 300 million people around the world and should set an example. Without serious sanctions nothing will ever change" (AFP, 1/20).

NO RUSSIAN LEAGUE: REUTERS' Gennady Fyodorov reported FIFA President Sepp Blatter "has dismissed any idea of several wealthy Russian clubs creating a new league with top teams from the former Soviet states," saying that "any such move would be against the principles of the world governing body." Blatter said, "It's impossible. It goes against the principles of FIFA, therefore FIFA would never support such idea." New Russian Football Union President Nikolai Tolstykh, sitting next to Blatter, assured the FIFA head that "his country would follow the guidelines of the world's governing body." Tolstykh said, "We've not received any details on how this new league plan to operate, but in any case, we would never go against the wishes of FIFA" (REUTERS, 1/20).
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