FIFA Talks Tough on Racism, but is it just Talk?
FIFA President Sepp Blatter has generated quite a number of newspaper headlines after he proclaimed earlier this week that anti-racism rules would be enforced at the World Cup. “The regulations will be applied for this World Cup,” said Blatter, while he was in Dubai. “At the first sign of racism there will be a deduction of three points, then we are finished with problems of discrimination.” This is tough talk and we applaud Blatter’s newfound interest in ridding football of racism. At the same time, we just can’t see this kind of enforcement actually taking place at the World Cup. There are simply too many uncertainties and questions about the policy for us to think it would work.
Would FIFA actually have the courage to deduct a team three points?
It hasn’t shown this at the club level and it would be hard to imagine that it would follow through on this threat, especially if it involved one of the tournament favorites. The backlash against such a move would be something to behold.
How would these rules be applied in the knockout stages?
This question hasn’t been answered. We can’t imagine FIFA booting a team out of the tournament because of the shameful actions of its fans, but if it is serious about enforcing the rules than it would have to.
What is to stop fans from pretending to be opposing supporters in order to penalize another team?
From what we can tell, there is nothing to prevent this from happening.
Is the World Cup the best venue to introduce these rules?
We don’t think so. We’d rather see the regulations applied at the club level for a few years instead of having a hastily put together effort at the sport’s biggest tournament. There are too many kinks that need to be worked out. It is unfortunate that this issue even has to be discussed ahead of the World Cup and we happen to think that it isn’t going to be a problem in Germany this summer, but we’d have more confidence in FIFA’s regulations if they were clearly established and not as subject to on the fly interpretation.
What do you think?