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FIFA defends decision to disband anti-racism task force

Critics said tackling the plague of racism is FIFA's priority and the work of the anti-racism task force was far from over. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Zrich, Switzerland Sep 26, 2016, 04.13 PM (IST)
FIFA on Monday decided to disband its racism task force despite waht many believe is a decision made in haste. 

FIFA defended its decision to end the task force's work that was established in 2013 by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter to eradicate racism in the sport. 

"It had a very specific mandate and they came up with very strong recommendations and FIFA is acting on them," said the new secretary-general Fatma Samoura, insisting the mission had been a success. 

"We can live with perception but we are taking very seriously our role as football's governing body to fight discrimination, it is well reflected in the statutes," Samoura stood by the decision.

Delivering the keynote address at the Soccerex Global Football Convention, she said, "Coming from the UN we must really be firm. It is really on top of the agenda of the FIFA administration. It is zero tolerance to discrimination on grounds of culture, racism colour of the skin and sexual orientation."

But many criticised the timing of the decision that comes ahead of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, including two-time former FIFA presidential candidate Prine Ali bin Hussein. 

"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," said the former FIFA vice-president. 

And the British anti-discrimination body 'Kick It Out' too expressed its disappointment. 

"It is clear that organisations that are actively campaigning against racism and discrimination will be deeply disheartened to hear news of the disbandment, as they look to FIFA for leadership in a game which is so popular across the world," read the statement.

Russia, which is hosting the next World Cup, is known for its notorious fans and their racist and abusive activities. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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