EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — FIFA’s new anti-racism chief Jeffrey Webb believes soccer has failed to support abused players and needs tougher sanctions.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter appointed Webb, the CONCACAF president, this week to head a task force on racism after a number of abuse cases among players and fans.
“We’ve been talking for a long time in football (about racism) and I don’t really think that we’ve supported the players,” Webb said Saturday after a meeting of soccer’s rule-makers. “I don’t think we’ve necessarily put the right sanctions in place to support them. It’s a travesty that it comes to that.”
Some fines imposed by FIFA have been considered too lenient. FIFA fined Bulgaria and Hungary in January about $40,000 each for racist and anti-Semitic abuse by their fans.
“I really don’t think that financial instruments in today’s world are enough to deal with it,” Webb said. “With the money that’s involved in football today, the fines that are being established, I don’t think they’re working, obviously.”
Blatter has previously said point deductions and relegation punishments are needed as disciplinary options to help deal with discrimination at matches.
The heaviest bans for racist abuse by players have come in England. Liverpool striker Luis Suarez served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra during a match. Chelsea captain John Terry was suspended for four games for hurling insults at Anton Ferdinand at Queens Park Rangers.
Webb plans to make a fact-finding trip to England where he hopes to speak to players, including Suarez, Terry, Evra and Ferdinand.
“I will be meeting with the FA chairman David Bernstein and visiting the FA,” Webb said. “At that time I would also like to meet with some of the players, perhaps have a round-table discussion to talk to the players and get their input, get some suggestions from them and learn from what their experiences are. Obviously, there’s a number of players who have been victimized, targeted. Plus we would like to hear both sides, really.”
Bernstein is pleased that FIFA is recognizing the need to deal with discrimination in soccer.
“It is vitally important football’s governing bodies share experiences and knowledge if we are to properly tackle this issue,” Bernstein said.
Webb’s task force will have at least six members, and he’ll present his initial findings to the FIFA Congress in May.
Webb, who is from the Cayman Islands, also has concerns about the lack of opportunities for black players in higher levels of the sport.
“I played football and I wanted to go into administration,” he said. “Some players, (Paul) Ince might want to go into management. Sol Campbell might want to be the next coach for Arsenal. Do they really have that opportunity?”
“We as a football family, overall, have to sit down and take a look in the mirror,” Webb added. “What happens to the players after they finish playing? Do they really have a chance at being a professional manager? Do people of color really have a chance to become executive directors of various clubs and boards?”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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