FIFA Accused Of Not Taking Racism Seriously Enough During Brazil World Cup
The head of FIFA’s anti-racism task force -- VP Jeffrey Webb -- "has voiced his disappointment at the failure to appoint staff trained to record discriminatory abuse in World Cup stadiums in the wake of a series of contentious incidents," according to Owen Gibson of the London GUARDIAN. FIFA "did not take action" over offensive chanting by Mexican fans, racist chanting at matches involving Russia and Croatia, or “blacked up” fans who were pictured at the Germany-Ghana game. Webb: "There is no reason why someone should be entering the stadium clearly displaying their intent. We at FIFA and the local organizing committee should be doing a much better job." He said that a proposal to have three officials at every match trained to spot and record evidence of anti-discriminatory behavior "had been knocked back by Fifa and the organizing committee." Webb said the proposal, made in March, was one of the “top priorities” of the task force "because of the sort of incidents that had happened in Brazil" and that the failure to implement it was “very unfortunate.” FIFA Disciplinary Committee Chair Claudio Sulser "dismissed criticism of the decision not to take action over the 'inappropriate' and 'inconvenient' behaviour of fans." He said that "it was hard to prove cases that involved racist or homophobic behaviour by the crowd because it was not easy to tell which country the offenders were from" (GUARDIAN, 7/3). The PA noted Webb confirmed that the task force had not met since September "because the FIFA administration had been unable to organise another meeting." He also believed that "special attention should be given to anti-discrimination in Russia" for the 2018 World Cup. Russia "has had a history of racism in football." Webb: "It is much more of a problem in Russia. Russia itself needs a special task force, just for Russia and from an educational standpoint internally" (PA, 7/3).