Sepp Blatter has called for FIFA to establish harsher punishments for teams whose fans are found guilty of racism.
At the Football Association’s 150th anniversary gala in London, Blatter declared, “It has been decided by the FIFA congress that it is a nonsense for racism to be dealt with with fines – you can always find money from somebody to pay them. It is a nonsense to have matches played without spectators because it is against the spirit of football and against the visiting team. It is all nonsense.”
So what does he propose?
“What we shall do is be very tough – we need to eliminate teams from a competition or deduct points,” Blatter said. “Only by such decisions is it possible to go against racism and discrimination. If we don’t do that it will go on and go on. We have to stop it – we need the courage to do it.”
Point deductions and forced relegation or disqualification is serious stuff. Blatter’s stance is a strong one, but also carries a sprinkle of policy reversal.
He was against these punishments back in April, revealing some concern that it would encourage fans to attend rival teams’ matches and stir up trouble.
However, it’s good to see FIFA at least discussion harsh punishments for racial abuse of players – although actions are still somewhat lacking.
To be fair, an appropriate punishment is almost impossible to devise. Often only pockets of fans are responsible, and punishing an entire fanbase for the actions of a small few can garner criticism.
Blatter told the FA gala that racism is the “villian” in the game today, and only harsh sanctions will be able to stamp it out of the sport completely.
Despite sitting at the top of the table in the Premier League, things are not going well for Manchester City.
Star striker and leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero suffered a torn hamstring while playing for Argentina, and now he is joined by David Silva on the injured list.
Silva lasted nine minutes in Spain’s EURO qualifying match against Luxembourg, forced off after taking a bad challenge from behind. Silva went down in pain and tried to play on, but asked for a substitution just minutes later.
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Spanish news outlet AS is reporting that Silva has suffered “lateral internal ligament damage in his right ankle,” and could face 2-3 weeks on the sidelines.
With Aguero set to miss at least a month, Silva’s injury could leave Manchester City without two of their top players in the coming weeks.
Silva has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season, the quarterback of the City attack, which has scored a league-leading 19 goals through eight matches.
City travels to Old Trafford for the Manchester derby on October 25, which falls into that 2-3 week range for Silva’s recovery. In a match that could decide who sits top of the table, Manuel Pellegrini would be very shorthanded without Silva and Aguero.
Alejandro Bedoya will not feature for the United States in the CONCACAF playoff against Mexico on Saturday, and has been replaced on the roster by Bobby Wood.
Bedoya traveled to Los Angeles from his club team Nantes in France, but Jurgen Klinsmann has announced he will be unable to play after falling ill.
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Without Bedoya, Union Berlin midfielder Bobby Wood has been added to the USMNT side. Wood scored the first two goals of his international career this summer in wins over the Netherlands and Germany, and has scored four goals in ten matches for Union Berlin this season. Wood has been training with the U.S. camp throughout the week for the upcoming friendly against Costa Rica.
Bedoya has played well for the USMNT, discounting his short performance against Brazil in September. In that match, Klinsmann played Bedoya out of position against a potent Brazil attack, and he was substituted before halftime. However, playing in his more natural role as a winger or attacking midfielder, many believed Bedoya could be in line for a start against Mexico.