Washington: FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants AC Milan star Kevin-Prince Boateng to help them in their fight against racism in football.
Boateng left the field in a match against Italian fourth tier side Pro Patria in January, after suffering racist abuse from the crowd, sparking further debate on whether enough was being done to tackle the problem. Football`s governing body joined forces with the United Nations on Thursday to explore ways of combating discrimination and they said top players like Boateng can play a vital role.
Boateng, an ex-Ghana international, is due to meet Blatter on Friday and the FIFA president penned a speech that was presented to the U.N. on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The statement said, "When a player has to choose between leaving the field of play to make a statement against racism or staying on the pitch and tolerating the intolerable, we know the football community has fallen short of its obligations to protect its members."
"Despite the many victories we have won in football against discrimination and prejudice, we know we still have a problem today and we know more has to change," the statement added. "We have to step up our efforts, to keep fighting.
We at FIFA supported Kevin Prince-Boateng for making that principled, brave stand. But, we all know it was not a solution. It was a wake-up call. No player should have to make that choice," it said. The statement further added, "We, within the footballing community, now need a watertight commitment from grassroots to international level to better enforce FIFA`s tough anti-discrimination regulations.
And, we hope to work with Kevin and other high-profile figures in the game to root out racism once and for all." Boateng`s actions drew a mixed response but it undoubtedly highlighted the issue and now he is hoping to assist FIFA in their anti-racism work.