In what is probably the biggest news story today apart from Sam Allardyce just being Sam Allardyce, FIFA has announced that it has defeated racism. Yup, that’s it. All over. Well done FIFA.
The world football governing body have disbanded its anti-racism taskforce because in their own words, “It had a specific mandate, which it has fully fulfilled.”. Call me old fashioned but wouldn’t the main objective of an anti-racism task force be to completely remove racism from football? Whether or not the “mandate” had been completed, to shut it down completely sends the wrong message. With the events that took place during Euro 2016, the numerous cases in Russia and most of Eastern Europe, FIFA have once again shown their head is firmly embedded in the sand. With Kick It Out coming out only earlier this month stating that racism is on the rise en masse, FIFA have decided to simply ignore it with all the petulance of a child putting their fingers in their ears, closing their eyes and shouting “lalalalala” at the top of their voice.
Let’s dive right in and tackle the elephant in the room. In just two years from now Russia will be hosting the World Cup and as I’ve already mentioned, are no stranger to a racist incident or two. You must only go back a couple of weeks to FC Rostov having a portion of their stadium closed in a Champions League match against PSV for “unspecified” racist events during a match against Ajax. Now, whilst we’ve seen this happen numerous times it’s worth noting that this will be one of the cities hosting the World Cup. For FIFA to come out and pretty much say “well, we’ve done our job” is almost satirical for an organization already in turmoil.
FIFA have once again shown they’re more than happy to turn their cheek to all problems and concerns while simultaneously patting themselves on the back.
In a time where everyone is just waiting for more reasons to ridicule and throw accusations at them they come across as nearly oblivious. Sitting in their bubble, they’ll neatly fold up the issue of racism and keep it in their pocket until the next massive scandal emerges so they can use it draw attention away again.
Kick It Out’s reply to this announcement covered nicely the complete ignorance of FIFA saying,
“This comes at a time when there is clear evidence that discrimination, prejudice and hate are on the rise in developed societies, particularly in Europe but also in different forms across the world. Football should seek to lead the way in combating such intrusions.”
They also comment on how organizations such as their own look to FIFA for leadership in dealing with issues affecting what is the most popular sport in the world. It’s a sad reflection that the first thing you do when hearing FIFA and leadership in the same sentence is let out a little sigh. The world governing body of football doesn’t fill anyone connected with the sport, from fans to players, with any confidence. That is a disheartening and damning situation. That is FIFA, and they should be proud. Well done.
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