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FIFA Disband Anti-Racism Task Force Without Meeting, Declare Job Done

“I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not. The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which needs continuous attention.”

The previous statement isn’t provided by a FIFA watchdog or contrarian, it’s provided by Osasu Obayiuwana, a member of FIFA’s own anti-racism task force. Obayiuwana’s comments come after a FIFA statement that the task force has “completely fulfilled its temporary mission”, “hereby [dissolving] and no longer in operation.”

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the task for to have done - the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter,” continued Obayiuwana. “But it is evident the FIFA administration takes a different position.”

FIFA appointed then CONCACAF president and FIFA vice-president Jeff Webb as chairman of the task force upon its creation in 2013. 

“I am grateful for this appointment and eager to contribute by working towards creating an environment of cooperation that fosters football’s continuous journey to impart positive role models to society,” said Webb at the time.

Webb was then arrested in 2015 and pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. He was subsequently replaced by Congolese federation president Constant Omari.

According to Obayiuwana, the task force never met under Omari. “We never had a single meeting under his chairmanship,” said Obayiuwana. “I wrote [to] him, more than once, asking for when a meeting would be held. But I never received a reply from him.”


Sepp Blatter created the task force in 2013 having declared racism in football “a big, big problem also of education and understanding”, clarifying that “we [FIFA] have to work on it, but we cannot do it alone…But we will do it because we have to kick it out.”

Fast forward three years and FIFA “are therefore delighted to inform you that all of the task force’s recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing.”

The announcement of the disbanding of the task force comes almost a year after The New York Times revealed a Moscow-based report showing 85 episodes of discriminatory behavior in Russia from May 2014 through May 2015. 

The incidents included “monkey chants, fans making Nazi salutes and a coach who referred to Ebola during a news conference when asked about injuries to players on his team”. 

However, FIFA have implemented a new diversity award and a "Say No to Racism" campaign, thus eradicating prejudice, stereotyping and discrimination. Or so we're told.

(H/T: The Guardian

Follow me on Twitter: @ConmanFleming

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