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Blatter: Don't run away

Afp
Wednesday, January 16, 2013

LONDON - FIFA president Sepp Blatter has warned players that "running away" from racism is not the right way to deal with the issue.

AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and his teammates walked off the field after he was subjected to abuse during a recent friendly match with Pro Patria.

Many players including Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and former Arsenal star Patrick Vieira praised Boateng for standing up to the racists, but Blatter responded to the incident by insisting players should not leave the pitch.

Blatter is adamant the game should always go on whatever the provocation, but he does admit that greater sanctions need to be placed on guilty parties if football is to effectively combat racism.

"I think we can never do enough to eradicate all the racism in football," Blatter told Sky Sports News.

"We have already tried and you have given, in Great Britain, the best example of how to eradicate violence in football with the modern stadia, with the controls and education that this is the one thing."

In a bid to give more bite to their anti-racism stance, FIFA last week ordered the Bulgarian and Hungarian football associations to play a game behind closed doors in response to racism incidents involving their fans.

But Blatter believes a punishment of point deductions could prove to be even more effective.

"I think a more radical solution would be deduction of points. Deduction of points would have a better impact on that than any other sanction," he said.

"Already to have a match played without spectators is a warning, it's a warning for all the spectators but the situation is now as such, you remember the Boateng problem, running away.

"I made a comment on that and I still have the same feeling, it was good what he has done in order to give this impact by saying 'listen, look at what has happened' but it can't be the solution.

"It can't be the solution because you can never solve any problem in your life, being in private life, in economic life, wherever, by running away.

"This is a good sign, to now say listen, if you don't take care now of our sport they will do it."