FIFA cancels anti-racism task force
Former FIFA presidential candidate, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, has labelled plans to wind up the football governing body’s anti-racism programme as ‘worrying’ and ‘shameful’.
The disbanding of the task force was confirmed at the Soccerex conference in Manchester this past week by FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura, who said that goals had been reached by the team.
“We will turn its work into a strong program of zero tolerance policy toward discrimination of any kind, including violation of human rights,” she said.
“We can live with perception (created by disbanding the task force) but we are taking very firm action.”
However, Prince Ali, who has twice run for the presidency at FIFA, said that ‘the notion that the current FIFA leadership believes that the task force’s recommendations have been implemented is shameful’, adding that the announcement was ‘incredibly worrying’.
“Never has the need to combat racism and racial discrimination been more evident than it is in the world we live in today,” Prince Ali said in a statement.
“It is not something that any governing body with any semblance of responsibility can down play or deny.
“The reality, as with many programs within FIFA, is that the task force was never given real support since its conception and its role was more about FIFA's image than actually tackling the issues.”
It was Nigerian broadcaster and lawyer, Osasu Obayiuwana, who first broke the news after publishing a letter he received from FIFA on Twitter announcing the end of the task force.
It said the task force had achieved the goals which were set out for it when it was created under the leadership of disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2013.
Among the critics of the programme’s cancellation is Britain’s Kick It Out anti-racism group, which stated it was ‘perplexed’ by FIFA’s decision.
Citing the upcoming Russian World Cup as an example, the charity said the country was ‘notorious for racism and abusive activities toward minorities’ and the idea to disband the team now was ‘deeply disheartening’.