/ Soccer

Sepp Blatter will call a summit of football's leaders in effort to eradicate racism

Updated: Monday, 14 Jan 2013 20:57 | Comments

Blatter is of the view that players should be suspended for more than one or two matches if found guilty of racial abuse
Blatter is of the view that players should be suspended for more than one or two matches if found guilty of racial abuse

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has reiterated his ambition to eradicate racism in football, but has stood by his comments about abuse victim Kevin-Prince Boateng's walk-off during a game by saying that "running away" is not the answer.

The last 18 months have seen a number of high-profile cases surrounding racial abuse, with one of the most recent coming earlier this month when AC Milan midfielder Boateng and his team-mates walked off the field during a friendly match with Pro-Partita after receiving abuse from the terraces.

Blatter said last week that he would not encourage other players to do the same, saying the same again when asked in the interview, but did repeat previous pledges to remove racism from the sport.

During a Special Report interview with Sky Sports News, Blatter said: "I think we can never do enough to eradicate all the racism in football.

"We have already tried and you have given, in Great Britain, the best example of how to eradicate violence in football with the modern stadia, with the controls and education that this is the one thing."

FIFA last week ordered the Bulgarian and Hungarian football associations to play a game behind closed doors in response to racism incidents involving their fans, but Blatter believes a punishment of point deductions could prove to be more effective.

"I think a more radical solution would be deduction of points. Deduction of points would have a better impact on that than any other sanction," he said.

Adding his thoughts about Boateng, he said: "Already to have a match played without spectators is a warning, it's a warning for all the spectators but the situation is now as such, you remember the Boateng problem, running away.

"I made a comment on that and I still have the same feeling, it was good what he has done in order to give this impact by saying `listen, look at what has happened` but it can't be the solution.

"It can't be the solution because you can never solve any problem in your life, being in private life, in economic life, wherever, by running away.

"This is a good sign, it's a good sign, to now say listen, if you don't take care now of our sport they will do it."

Blatter went on to suggest he will call a "summit" of football`s leaders in a bid to find a long-term solution, but did add his own opinion that players found guilty of racial offences should "be suspended for more than one or two matches". 

Now 76, Blatter is entering a 39th year working for FIFA while he has been president since 1998.

He plans to step down in 2015 and endorsed UEFA counterpart Michel Platini to replace him, even though he does not know if the Frenchman would like the job.

"I am not so sure that he is willing to go into the position as the FIFA president, he has not declared officially but he could, would, should be a good successor always and ever and the successor shall go on with, I would say, the globality of our football and not confine football only in a few countries," he said.

"I think we can never do enough to eradicate all the racism in football" - Blatter

Blatter`s last major event at the head of the game will be next year`s World Cup in Brazil.

Questions have been asked about the country`s ability to stage the tournament, with stories of unbuilt stadia causing doubt, but according to Blatter, everything is on track, much like his plan to introduce goal-line technology in Brazil.

"In Brazil they have had some problems in keeping their road map they have established years ago when Mr Lula was still the president but now they are to go up exactly where they should be," he said.

England are currently qualifying for that tournament and Blatter did have some advice for the Football Association, saying he felt too many overseas players were harming the national team`s chances.

While defending the amount of foreign owners there are in the Premier League, he added: "You have too many foreigners and not English players, so your national team is not yet, I have to say, is not yet at the level of these national teams I just mentioned

"If you look to Spain, Italy and Germany you realise that 80% or even more of the players of national team, they play in their own league, and so it is an influence of how many good players you have in your own league for the national team."

Blatter also touched on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, saying a final decision on whether it would be a summer or winter tournament would need to be taken at the end of Brazil 2014.

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