FIFA official says fines for racism are `disrespectful`
New York: FIFA`s anti-racism chief Jeffrey Webb has called on national soccer associations to start implementing tougher sanctions to rid the game of discrimination, describing the use of monetary fines as "disrespectful" and little more than a "slap on the wrist."
Jeffrey Webb, the chairman of FIFA`s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, said that while the world and regional bodies had introduced strict new laws to combat racism, some national leagues were ignoring the proposals and being too lenient.
Webb singled out the Spanish football federation for criticism after it fined La Liga club Villarreal 12,000 euros ($16,500) after a fan threw a banana at Barcelona`s Dani Alves.
"You saw the incident that happened in La Liga and of course you`ve seen the punishment, which is very, very unfortunate," Webb told a select group of journalists at a meeting in midtown Manhattan on Tuesday.
"I thought it was very disrespectful, to be honest with you."
Webb`s criticism came just one day after FIFA president Sepp Blatter made a similar plea on social media after a spate of incidents in Europe.
Italian club Atalanta were fined 40,000 euros ($55,000) after a banana was thrown onto the pitch during a Serie A match on Sunday.
On the same day, Zenit St Petersburg’s Russian championship clash with Dynamo Moscow was abandoned after fans invaded the pitch and punched Dynamo defender Vladimir Granat in the head.
"Racism, and games stopped/abandoned due to acts of hooliganism. Each Federation needs to act. Sanctions are available & HAVE to be applied," Blatter said on Twitter.
Last year, FIFA adopted a range of tough new measures to tackle racism, which were proposed by Webb, the president of CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
But Webb said FIFA was powerless to hand down penalties against club teams because that was the jurisdiction of national associations.
"We`ve passed new regulations which give opportunities for relegation, point reductions and much harsher fines than monetary," he said.
"(When national associations) fine some of these clubs, $25,00, $50,000, that`s nothing, that`s a slap on the wrist really.
"I think FIFA has created other laws, UEFA has also passed various laws, now of course, it has to be drilled down to the other leagues."