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Toure hails anti-racism monitoring system

12 May 2015, 17:25

London - Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure on Tuesday welcomed the creation of a new anti-discrimination monitoring system for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers by world governing body FIFA.

FIFA will send independent observers trained by the European anti-discrimination organisation FARE to qualifying matches where there is felt to be a high risk of racist behaviour from fans.

Also read: Arsenal legend urges Walcott to weather ‘rough’ patch

The monitors will report any incidents of discrimination to FIFA, which will be able to impose sanctions such as fines or stadium bans upon the countries concerned.

"I'm very satisfied to see that FIFA is taking this issue very seriously and putting in place concrete measures to stop behaviour which goes against the spirit of our sport," said Toure, who was the victim of racist abuse during a Champions League match against CSKA Moscow in 2013.

Earlier that year, Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch after being racially abused during a friendly game with AC Milan and Toure said he sympathised with players who might feel like doing the same.

"Sometimes it's difficult," said the Ivory Coast international, who is a four-time African Footballer of the Year.

"I've experienced that, when I was in Russia and different countries. I've heard monkey chants or abuse.

"It's difficult to deal with that. As a sportsman, you want to finish the game, you want to continue to the end. But when you hear that, it breaks you. It's not easy to experience that."

Toure, who is a consultant to FIFA's anti-discrimination and racism taskforce, was speaking at the launch of the monitoring system at London's Wembley Stadium.

'Positive impact'

He added: "We have to take sanctions. Something strong has to be done, to show they have to stop.

"Football is about togetherness and happiness. We need to show them that they need to change or they will face radical sanctions."

Russia, which will host the 2018 World Cup, has pledged to tackle racism in its football after a succession of incidents involving supporters of Russian clubs in recent years.

While the Russian national team will not play any qualifying matches, FIFA's head of sustainability, Federico Addiechi, said that "matches outside of the qualifiers could also be tackled (monitored)".

Earlier this year, former Russian federation president Vyacheslav Koloskov questioned why monkey chants were considered racist during an interview with the BBC.

But despite campaign groups warning of the dangers of racist behaviour at the World Cup, Addiechi dismissed the notion that Russia could be stripped of the tournament.

"The FIFA World Cup was entrusted to Russia on condition of delivery of the World Cup in the way we expect it to be delivered," he said.

"We believe in the positive impact the World Cup can have, not just on the discrimination issue, but many other issues in the host country, in Russia, but also in Brazil (hosts in 2014), in South Africa (hosts in 2010), and in Qatar in 2022.

"The World Cup will take place in 2018 in Russia. There has been a commitment from the Russian government and football authorities to make the best possible effort to host an inclusive World Cup and make sure everyone feels safe, comfortable and welcome in the country."


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