FIFA President Blatter Says Stadium Closures Are 'Excessive' Punishment For Racism
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has claimed punishing fans' racist behavior by closing stadiums is "extremely dubious" and "unduly excessive," according to the PA. Blatter said that sporting sanctions such as points deductions that "cause real hurt to" clubs are a better punishment than closing part or all of a stadium for matches. But Blatter, in his column in FIFA Weekly, said that while he wants "drastic and severe" sanctions for racism, "football without a crowd is like a concert without sound." FIFA's disciplinary code "punishes racism by a warning for a first offence and then more serious sanctions such as stadium closures, points deductions or even expulsion from the competition for further offences" (PA, 4/17).
The BBC reported Ukraine was ordered by FIFA to play a World Cup qualifier against Poland in an empty stadium "after fans made monkey chants and performed Nazi salutes." The punishment "was subsequently imposed on the 2018 qualification campaign following an unsuccessful appeal by Ukraine Football Federation" (BBC, 4/17).