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FIFA President Sepp Blatter Announces Tough New Anti-Racism Measures

posted 31 May 2013, 16:46 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 31 May 2013, 16:46 ]

Sepp Blatter says FIFA are working through the problems the organisation has faced over the last few years as tough new anti-racism measures are announced at their congress in Mauritius.

 PORT LUOIS, MAURITIUS (MAY 31, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A new set of statutes based on wide-ranging reforms aimed at cleaning up FIFA's tarnished image were passed by huge majorities at its annual Congress on Friday (May 31)- but with discontent as ever rumbling in the background.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter said he was "delighted with what we have achieved" after a marathon Congress lasting nearly eight hours as tough anti-racism measures were added to the rulebook.

Lydia Nsereka, 45, president of the Burundi Football Association, also became the first woman in its 109-year history to be voted on to the executive committee.

However, proposals to introduce age limits and mandate limits for senior officials was left off the agenda to the annoyance of UEFA, whose move to have them re-instated was deferred until next year's Congress in Sao Paolo.

On the whole however, Blatter did steer the good ship FIFA "into the calm transparent waters of the harbour" after it was "tossing about in stormy seas" two years ago when the reform process started.

Blatter, 77, in his presidential address, said the reform process had changed the organisation, but that the reforms and the fights against racism and the scourge of match fixing goes on.

"We have been through a difficult time; it has been a test for the world of football and for those who lead it," Blatter said. "As your captain I am happy to say that FIFA has weathered the storm. We have emerged from troubled waters stronger and now we can look forwards a bright and productive future.

"Hopefully as beautiful, calm and transparent as the sea around us in Mauritius and I think the boat that I have received today as a gift from the Mauritius Football Association is significative that the boat can go slowly towards the harbour."

Blatter, who initiated the reform process after the crises that enveloped the organisation in the wake of the joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the scandal that surrounded the presidential election in 2011, said no matter what critics said FIFA had reacted to those problems.

"FIFA and football both play a significant role in the world for us not to improve our accountability and not to demand more of our decision makers," Blatter said. "We have more than met the challenge by working arm-in-arm in solidarity for the improvement of the game. It would be a lie to say it has been easy it was not easy. I urge you now to make your own mark on history by passing the final reforms."

Blatter went on to say that it needed a concerted effort from everyone of FIFA's 209 delegates to help eradicate racism.

"While we in this hall can all agree that racism must be stopped we can send a strong signal to the racists that their time is up and finished," Blatter said.

Blatter also said that FIFA needed the help of the authorities to combat match fixing.

"It's the essence of our game that is touched by that, the uncertainty of the results and here we are facing situations where we need help, we can not fight against alone in the football family," he said. "We need help of the public authorities, of the police, everywhere."

When the time came to vote, they were all passed with massive majorities of well over 90 percent.

Many of them involved detailed restructuring of mundane rules which are only of interest to those affected by them, but they also including the rubber-stamping of the new Ethics Committee with real teeth aimed at finding any wrongdoing.

The plan for Congress to decide the venues for future World Cups, rather than the executive committee, was also approved.

As for the anti-racism laws, introduced by Jeffrey Webb, the CONCACAF president and chairman of the Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, constitute a number of new sanctions.

They include the possibility of points deductions and expulsions from competitions or relegation, the introduction of anti-discriminatory officers at games, a minimum five-match ban against players guilty of racial abuse, tougher minimum financial penalties and the introduction of a hotline for players and fans to report incidents of racism.