Fifa president Sepp Blatter now not so sure about relegation for racism

Fifa boss Sepp Blatter then criticises Italy's handing of Simone Farina after he denounced a match-fixing scheme and Blatter also chimes in about the Cyprus financial crisis.

Fifa boss Sepp Blatter spoke about racism, among other things, at an event in Zurich yesterday. Walter Bieri / AP Photo
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Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, has expressed misgivings about the idea of relegation and points deductions as punishments for racism, suggesting it could encourage fans to deliberately try to get matches stopped.

In January, the 77-year-old Swiss proposed the possible introduction of such sanctions for teams whose fans were guilty of racism but appeared to back away from that stance during a speech at an event in Zurich on Friday.

He said: "Where does it end? How far can we go? To what extent can we expect that a game is stopped, by players walking off the field?

"Can we stop it by deducting points or by relegating a team? Or will this lead to persons coming to the stadium wanting to stop the game intentionally? There is so much passion in football."

Afterwards, Blatter added: "We have to do something but the danger is if we say the match will be replayed, or there will be a deduction of points or whatever, this can open the door for groups of hooligans to create these problems.

"That is why the control of the stadium will be essential."

Blatter said that, on the suggestion of the world players' union FIFPro, a resolution would be put to the annual Fifa Congress next month asking for uniform sanctions worldwide.

"They say it must be done all around the world, it must be in all disciplinary committees and associations and leagues and it must be the same standard," Blatter said.

On another topic, he called it "a shame" that a former second-division defender who denounced a match-fixing attempt in Italy has been shunned and cannot get a new contract.

"We had the case of Simone Farina, and guess what happened? Italian clubs refused to sign him. He denounced football officials and they didn't want to sign him any more … what a shame."

Blatter also hit out at criticism of Fifa and turned to politics as he criticised the European Union's handling of the financial crisis in Cyprus, Greece and Spain and the politics of austerity

"Cyprus is a country with one million inhabitants, and in this country, in great financial difficulties, people devised a system where investors have to pay the bill directly.

"Do you think this would have been possible for 10 million Greeks or 50 million Spaniards, would anyone have had the courage? But with a small country, there they have done it.

"In my early studies, I learnt that if I want to help someone, I should not pay his debts, I have to give him money so he can make investments to get the economy going again, to create jobs and stimulate consumption.

"Then the profit from this can be used to pay back debt, but if someone else pays my debt, I become dependent."

Barcelona complain to Uefa about referee

Barcelona have written to Uefa to complain about the performance of the referee Wolfgang Stark in their Champions League match with Paris Saint-Germain.

The club claimed "the laws of the game were not applied" in the quarter-final first leg at the Parc des Princes, which ended in a 2-2 draw.

Their gripe surrounds an incident in the second half when the Barcelona players Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba were hurt in a collision in their own area, and Stark did not stop the game.

The Barcelona spokesman Toni Freixa said: “The club has sent an institutional letter to Uefa regarding a series of events that occurred on the field of play, for it is our objective understanding that the referee clearly failed to apply the laws of the game.

“When two players from the same team are lying on the ground, the referee has to stop the game, and that didn’t happen.

“Not only that, but he made them leave the field, which goes against the rules. This is a serious enough thing to happen in a Champions League match for us to write to Uefa and make sure it never happens again.

“We are fully aware that referees can make mistakes and we don’t feel unfairly treated, but what calls our attention is that in a high-level competition, a referee didn’t know the rules.

“We are not judging the refereeing, but a basic principle. A judge has to know the law.”

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