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Blatter backtracks on stance

05 April 2013, 14:02

Zurich - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has expressed misgivings about the idea of relegation and points deductions as punishments for racism, suggesting it could encourage fans to deliberately try and get matches stopped.

In January, the 77-year-old Swiss proposed the possible introduction of such sanctions for teams whose fans were guilty of racism but appeared to back away from that stance during a speech at an event in Zurich on Friday.

"Where does it end?" he asked. "How far can we go? To what extent can we expect that a game is stopped, by players walking off the field?

"Can we stop it by deducting points or by relegating a team? Or will this lead to persons coming to the stadium wanting to stop the game intentionally? There is so much passion in football."

Afterwards, Blatter told reporters: "We have to do something but the danger is if we say the match will be replayed, or there will be a deduction of points or whatever, this can open the door for groups of hooligans to create these problems.

"That is why the control of the stadium will be essential."

Blatter said that, on the suggestion of the world players' union FIFPro, a resolution would be put to the annual FIFA Congress is May asking for uniform sanctions worldwide.

"They say it must be done all around the world, it must be in all disciplinary committees and associations and leagues and it must be the same standard," Blatter said.

Blatter also criticised the situation in Italy saying it was a "shame" that a former second division defender who denounced a match-fixing attempt had been shunned and could not get a new contract.

"We had the case of Simone Farina, and guess what happened? Italian clubs refused to sign him. He denounced football officials and they didn't want to sign him any more... what a shame."

Blatter also hit out at criticism of FIFA and turned to politics as he criticised the European Union's handling of the financial crisis in Cyprus, Greece and Spain and the politics of austerity

"Cyprus is a country with one million inhabitants, and in this country, in great financial difficulties, people devised a system where investors have to pay the bill directly.

"Do you think this would have been possible for 10 million Greeks or 50 million Spaniards, would anyone have had the courage? But with a small country, there they have done it.

"In my early studies, I learned that if I want to help someone, I shouldn't pay his debts, I have to give him money so he can make investments to get the economy going again, to create jobs and stimulate consumption.

"Then the profit from this can be used to pay back debt, but if someone else pays my debt, I become dependent."

He also turned his attention towards Switzerland, suggesting his compatriots devoted too much time to futile matters.

"Is it admissible to discuss the quality of veal sausages when many people in this world have nothing to eat or drink?" he said.

- Reuters


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