Fifa approves anti-racism measures

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FIFA has approved a series of reforms, including strong anti-racism measures and the induction of Lydia Nsekera as the first female member of the world governing body’s executive committee.

The 63rd Fifa Congress in Mauritius overwhelmingly approved a resolution that advises points deductions and even relegation for clubs involved in serious or repeated discriminatory behaviour, as well as a minimum five-game ban for individuals found guilty of racist offences.

So called “minor” offences are to be punished with a warning, fine or a subsequent match being played behind closed doors, while the proposals also called for “a specialised official to be in the stadium to identify potential acts of racism or discrimination”.

The resolution was overwhelmingly accepted by a majority of 99 per cent, though the fact that anyone would vote against the measures came as a surprise.

Meanwhile, Nsekera, the president of the Burundi Football Association, won the vote to become the first woman with a four-year mandate on the governing body’s powerful ExCo. She won 95 votes, while Moya Dodd (70 votes) and Sonia Bien-Aime (38 votes) were co-opted to the ExCo for a one-year period.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter praised delegates for their decisions but reminded them that positive action would be required to turn words into action. Blatter, using an unconventional and extended metaphor that called to mind Eric Cantona to make his point, said: “It is not easy to change the route of a tanker, but we are a very elegant boat...not a tanker. We are able to get back to quiet waters and we are navigating the right way. In a boat you have to have a captain and the captains of this boat are you – the presidents of the national associations.

“You are the stakeholders of Fifa. You have the right and the obligation to take this boat into good waters.”