Anti-racism group calls for retirement of FIFA president Blatter

Washington: An anti-racism group is putting the pressure on FIFA president Sepp Blatter to step down from his post after his recent comments on racism led to accusations that he has gone soft on fighting the issue.

Blatter appeared to have retracted from his previous statements that offending clubs should face points deductions or even be relegated, when he recently said it is difficult to bring an end to violence or racism by docking points or relegating a team.

The FIFA president had further said that although the football governing body is putting forward its best efforts to combat racism, there is a risk of hooliganism if they replay matches or punish offending clubs on the charge of racism.

Angry at Blatter`s comments, Valeriu Nicolae from the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) group said that Blatter should quit as his behaviour and his declarations have become erratic, adding that his comments were completely unacceptable.

Stating that Blatter is out of touch from the realities of the game, Nicolae said that it is necessary for Blatter to spend some time outside of a meeting and see a game, adding that without seeing the realities it is difficult for anyone to take the right measures against racism.

Defending Blatter, a FIFA spokesperson said that although Blatter`s comments were correctly interpreted, he had not reversed his position on punishments for racism, adding that the comments merely raised the challenges faced in implementing such penalties.

According to the spokesperson, Blatter stressed that prevention must go hand in hand with punishment through his comments, adding that Blatter`s strong commitment towards the eradication of the menace of racism from football has not changed.