ʻItʼs All Gone Quiet Over There!ʼ

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 27, 2015 16:29

ʻItʼs All Gone Quiet Over There!ʼ

by Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (August 27th 2015)

No Mas

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FIFA insists that it has no truck with discrimination. After a slew of incidents its sanctions were beefed up to include point deductions and even relegation for repeated offences, but the punishments were largely left to national federations to impose and enforce. Exceptions were competitions run by continental confederations or world tournaments. More often than not the punishment was fines.

The issue was thrown back into the spotlight with incidents in Russia. The hosts of the 2018 World Cup did not see racism as a problem. Gradually the Russian FA has come round. High profile incidents such as former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong being sent off for reacting to racist abuse by fans of Spartak Moscow during the Russian League match against his current team Ufa, has affected the countryʼs reputation and FIFAʼs too.

FIFA recently demonstrated its commitment to tackling discrimination with a new initiative launched at Wembley Stadium (see FIFA Tackles Discrimination at http://www.empowersmag.com/2015/05/fifa-tackles-discrimination/).

The Initiative

FIFA secured the services of FARE to monitor matches during the qualification process – Russia as hosts will play friendlies and they will be monitored too. Among those attending the launch of the initiative were Gnégnéri Yaya Touré, Howard Webb, Piara Powar, Federico Addiechi and Heather Rabbatts. There was, however,one notable absentee from the launch – its Chairman Jeffrey Webb had other pressing business to attend to.

Federico Addiechi

Addiechi outlined his hopes for us. “I think it doesnʼt matter what I want to see”, FIFAʼs Head of Corporate Social Responsibility said. “It is important that FIFA remains vigilant and has the necessary tools to apply the necessary sanctions when cases arise. We have a catalogue of sanctions in our Disciplinary Code which allows FIFA to take different types of sanctions depending on the case and what we are trying to provide now with this Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System are additional tools and evidence for the Disciplinary Committee to be in a position to act when this evidence is available”.

He is keen to make sure that information is forthcoming from any credible source. “We are always getting [information from other sources] and itʼs always possible for the Disciplinary Committee to receive evidence from various sources”, Addiechi told us. “We just want to make sure that in matches where the risk assessment says that there is a potential for discriminatory abuse that we have the right people in place to be able to collect that evidence, but that does not prevent other sources to deliver evidence to the Disciplinary Committee, whether in favour or against other evidence in coming to our attention”.

Tatters

But what now? The Chairman of FIFAʼs Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System was arrested in Switzerland, pending extradition to the USA, along with other high profile figures in FIFA including the former President of the Brasilian Football Federation José Maria Marin.

Webb had come to power with a brief to clean up a Confederation that would put to shame the ʻRotten Boroughsʼ of Britainʼs past. But Webb had his own murky past. He progressed through the ranks with Warnerʼs blessing. Could such a man really be clean – time would tell.

It would later become clear that Webb – who had swept to power in CONCACAF after the fall of former President Jack Warner and his one-time henchman turned hatchet-man Chuck Blazer – could sport woollen threads and expensive watches, but he could not hide his lupine origins.

Webb, it emerged was anything but the ʻMr Cleanʼ that he made himself out to be. The Cayman Islander was one of the highest profile FIFA executives arrested on the eve of FIFAʼs Congress. He elected to waive extradition proceedings and was flown to the USA – he is currently on bail.

FIFAʼs Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System hasnʼt fared as well. FIFA hasnʼt bothered to replace Webb – its disgraced Chairman. What does that say about FIFAʼs commitment to ADMS?

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar August 27, 2015 16:29
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