Finally, FIFA appear to have imposed harsher sanctions for those individuals and clubs found guilty of racist offences, but is this an example of FIFA bowing to sustained public pressure and yet not bowing low enough?
It has taken FIFA a long time to get to this point where they can now actually dock points from clubs and, in severe cases, even have the clubs relegated from their leagues. This sounds like a real statement of intent from the world soccer governing body, and following on from the paltry fines that have been handed out previously for similar offences, points deductions and relegation could be a real deterrent.
Plaudits have to be handed out to FIFA and they must be commended for their attempt to eradicate racism from the game, but if they can’t even get the entire racism congress to vote unanimously in favor of sanctions, what hope do they have of setting an example without reeking of hypocrisy?
Sepp Blatter’s FIFA congress passed a motion to implement new anti-racism sanctions with a 99 percent majority. However, 99 percent is not 100, which means that someone inside the congress actually opposed the motion.
Now, perhaps this anonymous member simply didn’t agree with the way the sanctions would be implemented or the timescale it would take, but that won’t stop the whispers that Blatter can’t even get his own house in order.
The issue of racism is now being handled relatively well by FIFA, so let’s be clear about that first — it’s not an easy thing to deal with and these tough new measures will be welcomed by the vast majority. However, the first battle FIFA has to wage is within their own congress and to get them all singing off the same hymn sheet before they attempt to implement more anti-racism measures.