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Classic Sepp: Blatter backtracks on racism punishments

The FIFA president had called for guilt clubs to be relegated, now he’s not so sure.

Image: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire/Press Association Images

FIFA PRESIDENT SEPP Blatter has backtracked on calls for clubs to be relegated if their supporters are found guilty of racism.

Blatter initially suggested relegation and points deductions for fans found guilty of racial abuse as part of severe sanctions in the wake of an incident involving Kevin-Prince Boateng in January.

Boateng was subjected to racial taunts during AC Milan’s friendly against fourth-tier club Pro Patria, which led to the Ghanaian walking off the pitch in protest, joined by his team-mates.

Having previous called for tough new sanctions to combat the issue, Blatter has since retracted his comments during an event in Zurich on Friday.

“How far should we go? Where should we stop?” the 77-year-old Swiss told reporters.

“Can we bring an end to violence or racism by docking points or relegating a team? Or would such measures lead people to come to games to get the match abandoned.

“We should do all we can but there’s a danger that if we have matches replayed or if we punish clubs on the sporting front, it will open the door to hooligan groups who will come to deliberately cause trouble. There is so much emotion surrounding football.”

A proposal for uniform sanctions across all of FIFA’s member associations is still due to be put to a vote in May.

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