Skip to main content

Blatter to enlist Boateng in FIFA's fight against racism

updated 6:22 PM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
Kevin-Prince Boateng (L) and Patrick Vieira (R) with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
Kevin-Prince Boateng (L) and Patrick Vieira (R) with United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • FIFA to work with players like Kevin-Prince Boateng in fight against racism
  • Soccer's governing body joined with United Nations to discuss racism in sport
  • AC Milan's Boateng walked off in a match after suffering racial abuse from crowd
  • FIFA president Sepp Blatter says 2022 World Cup can only be moved on Qatar's request

(CNN) -- FIFA wants to enlist the help of Kevin-Prince Boateng and other high-profile stars from the world of soccer to help drive racism out of football.

AC Milan's Boateng left the field in a match against Italian fourth tier side Pro Patria in January after suffering racist abuse from the crowd, sparking further debate on whether enough was being done to tackle the problem.

Football's governing body joined forces with the United Nations Thursday to explore ways of combating discrimination and they said top players like Boateng can play a vital role.

Boateng, an ex-Ghana international, is due to meet Sepp Blatter on Friday and the FIFA president penned a speech that was presented to the U.N. on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Read: AEK bans Katidis for fascist salute

Boateng: We can't ignore racism
Hayatou: Good example key against racism
Jerome Valcke: Match-fixing a 'disease'
PFA chairman: Serbia should be banned
FIFA chief concerned about stadium
FIFA VP supports 2022 winter switch
Messi claims fourth Ballon d'Or
Alex Ferguson: 'Racism still exists'

It read: "When a player has to choose between leaving the field of play to make a statement against racism or staying on the pitch and tolerating the intolerable, we know the football community has fallen short of its obligations to protect its members.

"Despite the many victories we have won in football against discrimination and prejudice, we know we still have a problem today and we know more has to change.

"We have to step up our efforts, to keep fighting. We at FIFA supported Kevin Prince-Boateng for making that principled, brave stand. But we all know it was not a solution. It was a wake-up call. No player should have to make that choice.

"We, within the footballing community, now need a watertight commitment from grassroots to international level to better enforce FIFA's tough anti-discrimination regulations.

"And we hope to work with Kevin and other high-profile figures in the game to root out racism once and for all."

Boateng's actions drew a mixed response but it undoubtedly highlighted the issue and now he is hoping to assist FIFA in their anti-racism work.

He told the conference about his decision to leave the field: "Normally, this shouldn't be the thing to do. FIFA is pushing very hard. Generally speaking, yes, players shouldn't walk off.

"But I hope the authorities will now take concrete action in the fight against racism."

Former Arsenal and France captain Patrick Vieira was also at the U.N. conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and he told FIFA's official website the fight was moving in the right direction.

Racism continues to blight soccer with several incidents making headlines in the past calendar year, aside from Boateng's walk off.

Recently, Inter Milan was charged by European football's governing body UEFA for racist chanting towards Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor, who plays for English club Tottenham.

Last month, Inter was fined $65,500 by the Italian football authorities after its fans were found guilty of racially abusing former players Mario Balotelli and Sulley Muntari, who now play alongside Boateng at rivals AC Milan.

Fellow Italian club Lazio was hit with a $52,000 fine in February by UEFA for several offenses, including a fourth charge of racist behavior this season.

Serbia was ordered to play one under-21 match behind closed doors and was fined $105,000 by UEFA for racial abuse in a match with England.

Read: Inter Milan faces new racism charge

UEFA president Michel Platini has appealed the verdict of his organization in the hope of seeing stiffer punishments administered.

Chelsea and England captain John Terry was charged by UK police after allegedly making racist remarks to Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand in October 2011. Terry was cleared of the charges in a London court in July 2012.

FIFA also moved to clarify comments made by Blatter in the Spanish media on the possibility of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar being moved from their summer to winter.

Blatter reportedly told newspaper AS that FIFA's executive committee must accept the criticism it is now receiving for their decision to choose Qatar as host, with concerns mounting over player safety due to excessive heat and humidity in the country.

FIFA said any question on moving the tournament would have to come from the Qatari organizers and as it stands the World Cup is still scheduled for June or July in 2022.

Blatter told AS: "Any request for change must come from Qatar. But they have not made this request yet, because they know that if they do so, the other bidders could say 'ah, there is a change.'"

On the question of whether the vote could be repeated he added: "I don't know, I don't know. This is a hypothetical scenario. In this moment, the organizers from Qatar have confirmed to us that they can organize the World Cup in summer."

Brazil and Italy drew 2-2 in an entertaining international friendly match in Switzerland.

Goals from Fluminese striker Fred and Chelsea midfielder Oscar had put Brazil into a 2-0 lead at halftime.

But Daniele De Rossi pulled a goal back for Italy soon after the break before AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli scored with a fine strike from range to seal a 2-2 draw.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
French former football player Zinedine Zidane reacts during the gala football 'Match Against Poverty' organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on March 4, 2014 in Bern.
Some of the biggest names in football lined up for a charity match, but CNN's Tom McGowan wonders if they can help beat poverty.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
updated 4:18 PM EST, Thu January 23, 2014
Real Madrid hasn't won the European Champions League in over a decade, but the Spanish club is invincible in one field -- making money.
The naming of the world's best footballer is not all that it seems, says CNN's James Masters.
ADVERTISEMENT