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FIFA wants more action on football racism

Saturday, July 05, 2014

RIO DE JANEIRO - A top FIFA official has called for anti-discrimination officers to be deployed in stadiums to counter racist and extremist symbols and chants at matches.

Jeffrey Webb, who heads FIFA's anti-discrimination and racism task force, spoke after the governing body said it could do nothing about a flag with a neo-Nazi cross carried in one Croatia match.

FIFA also said it would take no action over anti-gay chants made by Mexican fans as they were not directed at any one player.

"We have to do a better job at FIFA, with anti-discrimination observers in the stadiums," said Webb.

Past proposals for observers have not been taken up by FIFA, said Webb, president of the North and Central American and Caribbean Football Federation (CONCACAF). But he added that the world body had to act "to stop such symbols entering stadiums".

Claudio Sulser, head of FIFA's disciplinary commission, said that no investigation could be started into the flag, widely blamed on Croatian fans, as there was no proof who was carrying it.

"Anyone could brandish it to penalise an opposing team," Sulser told reporters.

"You have to identify who was carrying it and that could not be done as it was an isolated case," he added.

FIFA started an investigation into anti-gay chants by Mexican fans in their side's June 13 Group A match against Mexico.

"But these insults were not directed at one player. They were shouted each time a player had the ball so it was impossible for us to punish the Mexican federation for that," Sulser said.

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