Tha Sports Junkies 101

FIFA Disbands Anti-Racism Taskforce

Photo credit to Piero Hatto via Flickr


FIFA disbands its anti-racism taskforce declaring that the job is done

Zurich, Switzerland – FIFA has disbanded its anti-racism task force despite ongoing concerns of discrimination ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The Associated Press revealed Sunday that the anti-racism group was being dismantled after FIFA decided that its mission had been completed after three years.

Football’s governing body wrote to members to confirm the decision, claiming the task force has ‘completely fulfilled its temporary mission’.

Task force member Osasu Obayiuwana has slammed the decision, saying: “I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not.

“The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which need continuous attention.

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the task force to have done – the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter. But it is evident the Fifa administration takes a different position.”

Jordanian federation president Prince Ali said he found it “incredibly worrying” that the task force was being scrapped given the “very real and apparent” discrimination problem that remains in soccer.

“The fight against racism is far from over and the notion that the current FIFA leadership believes that the ‘task force’s recommendations have been implemented’ is shameful,” said Prince Ali, a former FIFA presidential candidate and FIFA vice president. “Now the idea that FIFA believes that it’s the right time to disband its anti-racism task force is ridiculous.”

Prince Ali believes the task force should have been empowered to work further with soccer authorities and governments to use the sport to tackle discrimination in wider society.

“There is still so much work to do, and FIFA must show leadership, take responsibility for reform and be accountable if change isn’t put into practice,” Prince Ali said.

“Transparency, trust, credibility and integrity are the values that should run through everything FIFA does. Not tackling the plague of racism and discrimination properly is an absolute betrayal of those values.”

The task force was established in 2013 by then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of world soccer’s governing body until he was arrested in 2015 as part of the American investigation into soccer corruption.

Webb, who pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, was replaced in September 2015 as task force chairman by Congolese federation president Constant Omari.

Of course, for many federations this is a worrisome problem as racism and discrimination persists.

Research from Moscow has indicated a surge in the number of racist incidents involving Russian fans ahead of the World Cup, with most going unpunished.

Ninety-two incidents of discriminatory incidents by Russian supporters were logged in and around stadiums in 2014-15, nine more than the previous two seasons combined.