FIFA President Sepp Blatter Says Russia Will Host 2018 World Cup Despite 'Blight Of Racism'
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that Russia will "still stage the 2018 World Cup finals despite the continuing blight of racism in the country’s football," according to Mike Collett of REUTERS. Asked at a "media round table event if Russia risked losing the World Cup," Blatter said, "We have never said we will take the competition out of the country. That is impossible. Sporting boycotts are rarely a solution to any problem." Man City midfielder Yaya Toure said last week that "black players should consider boycotting the tournament after he was subjected to racist chants from CSKA Moscow fans during a Champions League match in Moscow." FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke said he would be "speaking to Russian authorities about the problem during a scheduled visit to Moscow this week." Blatter said, "We will go back to the executive committee and see exactly what the situation is (in Russia) and what the latest incidents have been" (REUTERS, 10/27). In London, Ian Herbert reported Toure's claim that he was racially abused "escalated into a full-blown diplomatic incident." CSKA Moscow General Dir Roman Babayev accused "'the British' of a calculated campaign to 'smear' the Russian game" (INDEPENDENT, 10/25).
BLATTER SPEAKS OUT: The AFP reported Blatter "wants tougher sanctions over racism in football, with teams kicked out of tournaments and points deducted." Blatter: "We need to eliminate teams from a competition or deduct points. Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination. If we don't do that, it will go on and on. We have to stop it, we need the courage to do it" (AFP, 10/27). WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER reported Blatter said that he "wants Africa to be given more spots at the World Cup at the expense of European nations, a move that puts him on a collision course" with UEFA President Michel Platini (WORLD FOOTBALL INSIDER, 10/25).