Sepp Blatter appoints Kevin-Prince Boateng to anti-racism task force, says soccer must do more to combat abuse.
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 22, 2013) (REUTERS) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has appointed Kevin-Prince Boateng to the task force to tackle racism in soccer, it was confirmed in Switzerland on Friday (March 22).
The announcement came as Boateng, who walked off the pitch when he was subjected to racial abuse when playing for AC Milan earlier this year, met Blatter at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.
Despite a series of measures to tackle racism, it is still a blight on the sport, and FIFA have come under increasing pressure to do more to stamp it out completely.
At the start of March, Blatter set up an anti-racism task force, headed by Jeffrey Webb, president of the CONCACAF (the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football). It will explore what measures need to be taken to combat abuse both on the pitch and from the stands.
Webb has spoken about deducting points from teams or countries found guilty of racist abuse, or even throwing them out of competitions.
It was a sentiment echoed by Blatter as he and Boateng spoke to the media.
"We have finally to do something more than pecuniary sanctions," he said. "And this would be you have to deduct points, you have to do something. And here we need the sports political authorities of FIFA, its not enough to speak, we have to do something. And we will present them together with this task-force during the congress in two month in Mauritius, the measures that we have to take."
In January, Ghana international Boateng produced headlines around the world when he walked off the pitch during a friendly match against Pro Patria in Italy after being subjected to racist abuse. His team-mates followed him into the dressing room.
Blatter was understandably delighted to have such a high-profile addition to his anti-racism task force.
"I am so happy that we have such a great personality in football," he said. "It was like an earthquake when he walked away, in the stadium. But everybody accepts, also he accepts, that it was a very strong sign. But it cannot be the solution. The solution is that the whole family of football, the united football community, they must go against that," said Blatter.
Boateng, who has played professionally in Germany, England and Italy, and represented Ghana nine times, has had a busy week, and was at the UN inGeneva on Thursday (March 21), again in a bid to tackle racism in soccer.
"I think we can change it," Boateng said when asked how big a problem it was.
"It is not only the task force, even the normal people like we have to change it. The media, everybody has to work together. And how is said. I am looking very positive in the future with the task-force of course. They are going to put everything they have inside to punish the people and to get it out of our beautiful game of football."