Sulser: Racism will be punished

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Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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FIFA disciplinary chairman Claudio Sulser says Russia will be punished if their supporters show any form of racist behaviour at the 2018 World Cup in the country.

Sulser’s comments come just a fortnight after CSKA Moscow were forced to play Manchester City in the Champions League behind close doors following past violent and racist behaviour from their fans, although 350 Russian supporters were able to gain entry to the ground on the evening.

“It’s a situation we have to deal with,” Sulser said about the dangers of racism manifesting itself at the 2018 World Cup.

“It’s very critical and not easy to decide over but we have to see what is the responsibility of the association.

“We cannot sanction the association if they are doing something which is fair or ethical from their point of view, but you can not forget about the situation.

“You have the society, then you have the people who come into a stadium and people do not change because they are in a stadium.

“It’s a problem of the society and it’s correct to sanction an association for these attitudes.”

FIFA’s anti-discriminatory chief Jeffrey Webb said at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil there was a lack of staff deployed to tackle racist and homophobic issues and there was a “disconnect” between the governing body’s stated aim of stamping out discrimination at games and its failure to use trained staff to investigate and report on cases.

No action was taken against German fans who blacked up their faces at the match against Ghana or Croatian fans who displayed neo-Nazi flags and insignia.

FIFA’s disciplinary committee did investigate the case where Mexican fans chanted the word “puto” – taken to be a homophobic term in Spanish – at opposition goalkeepers during games but ruled there would be no punishment for the Mexican Football Association.

“If you want to sanction for this word you have to change the provision,” Sulser said at the DohaGOALS forum 2014 in Qatar.

“You have to change it to not only discriminatory but appropriate in this case.

“The Commission analysed it and said it was not discriminatory. Some say the word is discriminatory, some not.

“This is the problem because it is not like mathematics where the answer is known.”

Sulser said he agreed with the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport to remove Luis Suarez’s training ban after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.

The Uruguay striker was banned from playing for four months and handed a nine-month international suspension but CAS overturned the original decision taken by FIFA in Brazil to issue a training ban.

“It was a good decision (by CAS) because we had to decide very quick,” Sulser said.

“Suarez denied he had bitten the player but the image was so clear that we could not take another decision.

“When you make a decision in two or three days you see the attitude and then you decide.

“Then after that they say ‘no, we apologise for what happened’ and this changes things.

“So it’s correct that the player can train, it’s not a problem.”

Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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