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Football: FIFA urge FAs and public to back anti-racism fight

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The man helming FIFA's anti-racism fight on Thursday urged national football associations and the public to get onside, saying it was the only way to transform on-paper policies into reality.

"It's not only up to FIFA to implement the key decisions adopted by the Congress with regard to the fight against discrimination and racism," Jeffrey Webb told a meeting of the world football governing body's anti-racism arm.

"The implementation process needs to be fully supported by all member associations and society as a whole," Webb was quoted as saying in a FIFA statement.

Webb, who also heads the North and Central American and Caribbean football federation, CONCACAF, is overseeing a stepped-up drive against racism launched by FIFA in May.

On the table at Thursday's meeting at FIFA's Swiss headquarter were issues including the allocation of resources to campaigns against racism and discrimination, the sharing of best practice among national associations, and how to recruit and train anti-discrimination officials.

In addition, the meeting looked at measures to help identify games were racism was a high risk.

The new FIFA measures, adopted all-but unanimously by its ruling Congress in Mauritius in May, pave the way for tougher sanctions in cases of racism.

The measures include points deductions and even relegation for sides that are repeat offenders, and lengthy bans for individual perpetrators.

After what appeared to have been a rollback of racism in many European leagues, football's image has been tainted by several high-profile cases of in the recent past.

They range from Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's abuse of Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011 to AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng's decision to walk off the field following abuse from the stands during a friendly game in January this year.

On the international level, meanwhile, high-profile racist incidents such as the abuse of Italy's black striker Mario Balotelli by Croatia fans at Euro 2012 have grabbed headlines.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130912/football-fifa-urge-fas-and-public-back-anti-racism-fight