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Blatter: Running away not the way to combat racism

ESPN staff
January 14, 2013
Kevin-Prince Boateng was the victim of racist abuse recently © Getty Images

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has put his weight behind the deduction of points for clubs found guilty of racism and 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.

Blatter, during a Special Report interview with Sky Sports News, was asked about the growing number of racist incidents in the game - the most recent of which saw 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.

And, while he admitted he would not encourage other players to do the same, Blatter did repeat previous pledges to remove racism from the sport.

"I think we can never do enough to eradicate all the racism in football," he said. "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, 76, has been president since 1998 and 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''.

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