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Blatter insists FIFA ready to hit racists hard

updated 12:28 PM EST, Thu January 24, 2013
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has vowed to crackdown on racism in football.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has vowed to crackdown on racism in football.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA threatens more hard-line approach to racism
  • FIFA president Sepp Blatter says clubs could be hit with points deduction or relegation if found guilty
  • UEFA president Michel Platini has also recently insistedhis organization will get tough with racism
  • Frenchman Platini has backed stance taken by AC Milan's Kevin Prince-Boateng

(CNN) -- World football's governing body is threatening to take a more hard-line approach to racist abuse after FIFA president Sepp Blatter called for clubs to be punished with points deductions and relegation if they are found guilty.

Since AC Milan forward Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off the pitch in a friendly match earlier this month, both FIFA and Europe's governing body have faced criticism over their perceived leniency towards players being racially abused.

"It is not enough to give a fine," Blatter told FIFA.com. "Playing a game without spectators is one of the possible sanctions, but the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team, because finally the club is responsible for their spectators."

Blatter's stance is something of a volte-face given two years ago he said racism did not exist in football and that any problems could be solved with a handshake.

But the 76-year-old, who has spent the past 15 years in charge of FIFA, has changed his view following a number of recent unsavory incidents.

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Speaking out against racism in football

"It is a phenomena where football is a victim of our society," added Blatter.

"Discrimination and racism is everywhere in our society. We in football cannot be made responsible for what happens in our society.

"But nowhere in the world -- regarding all the problems you can have in your private life, in business, in politics -- can you solve a problem by running away.

"I agree with and support the movement of Boateng -- as I have said -- as it was a strong warning. It is now up to us to take the adequate steps.

"What I feel we should do is give instructions to our national associations and the confederations -- specifically to the disciplinary committees -- to be very strong."

The ugly face of racism has reared its head far too often over the past 18 months with several high-profile incidents catching the headlines.

Suarez fined, suspended over racist remarks

In December 2011, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was hit with an eight-match suspension and $63,000 fine after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Last September, Chelsea captain John Terry was given a four-game ban and fined $347,000 for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand.

Then in October 2012, England's Under-21 players were subjected to racist chanting during the European Championship qualifier in Krusevac.

The punishment of a $105,000 fine and the order to play one under-21 match behind closed doors handed out by UEFA's disciplinary commission was then appealed by the organization as it was seen to be too lenient.

UEFA appeals Serbia sanctions

England midfielder Danny Rose claims he was subjected to monkey chants before, during and after the second-leg of their Under-21 Euro 2013 playoff match against Serbia on Tuesday, and had stones thrown at him by the crowd in Krusevac. Fans also ran on to the pitch and scuffles broke out after a 1-0 win secured England qualification for Euro 2013. England midfielder Danny Rose claims he was subjected to monkey chants before, during and after the second-leg of their Under-21 Euro 2013 playoff match against Serbia on Tuesday, and had stones thrown at him by the crowd in Krusevac. Fans also ran on to the pitch and scuffles broke out after a 1-0 win secured England qualification for Euro 2013.
Serbia scuffles
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Former Polish striker condemns racism
It is now nearly a year since Chelsea lost to QPR 1-0 in an English Premier League game at Loftus Road. During the game it was alleged QPR defender Anton Ferdinand swore at John Terry and made reference to the Chelsea captain's reported affair with the ex-partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Terry is then said to have described Ferdinand as a "f***ing black c***". It is now nearly a year since Chelsea lost to QPR 1-0 in an English Premier League game at Loftus Road. During the game it was alleged QPR defender Anton Ferdinand swore at John Terry and made reference to the Chelsea captain's reported affair with the ex-partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge. Terry is then said to have described Ferdinand as a "f***ing black c***".
Where it all began
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However in an interview with French radio station RTL, UEFA president Michel Platini insisted the European governing body was in great shape to tackle racism.

"We have put rules in place with the referees in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League," said the Frenchman.

Earlier this month FIFA imposed a one-match spectator ban on Bulgaria for racist abuse by their fans of a Denmark player. It was the first time the body had imposed anything more than a fine for racism

Boateng makes racism walkout vow

Prince-Boateng walked off the field of play after being subjected to racist chanting by supporters during a friendly game at fourth-tier club Pro Patria.

Speaking to CNN in an exclusive interview following the incident, the Milan midfielder insisted he would walk off the field again if he was subjected to more racist chanting.

""If it happens again I'm not going to play anymore," he said.

"The referee said: 'Don't worry' but I said I do worry, it's not very nice.

"I was angry and I was sad, but it all came together and I said I don't want to play anymore. There were so many negative emotions that came up with me.

"I'm surprised we're still hearing these things in 2013. It's not the first time in my life that I've heard these things, but I'm 25 now and I've had enough this bulls***."

Boateng's decision to walk off the field was applauded by Platini, who told RTL: "I appreciated this very much. I also sent a message of congratulations to AC Milan's [vice-president] Mr Galliani. I found [the decision] a good thing to do."

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