FIFA respond to Spanish racism18 November 2004

FIFA, the world’s governing football authority, has issued a statement after the appalling racial abuse suffered by England in Spain. The match, which fell under FIFA jurisdiction, was marred throughout by racist chanting from large sections of the Spanish crowd towards England’s black players.

The statement, on the FIFA website reads,
“FIFA is concerned about the latest surge of racism in football and harshly condemns these incidents. FIFA will be investigating the circumstances of the two friendly matches between Spain and England as they come under FIFA's ambit. It will demand explanations from the Spanish football association so that it can examine the incidents and clarify whether the Statutes, regulations and Code of Ethics of FIFA have been violated.”

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter encouraged the global football community and society in general to reject racism of any kind. He said,
“There is no room whatsoever for racism or discrimination in our sport. On the contrary, football is a tool for building bridges and nurturing tolerance. The world is already too full of conflict that has its roots in racism and discrimination. Football has a positive influence that can and must be used to eradicate this scourge.”

Combatting racism
Way back in July 2001, FIFA held an Extraordinary Congress in Buenos Aires about racism in football, during which far-reaching resolutions were passed.

Although the Spain-England game wasn’t under UEFA’s control, when such incidents happen in UEFA games, they are often quick to punish the clubs or associations involved with fines or other sanctions. UEFA then use this money to finance anti-racist initiatives such as the FARE network. It is unclear as yet whether FIFA will take similar action with Spain.