FIFA bans Italian President Tavecchio over a racist remark

first_imgFIFA has extended a ban on recently elected Italian football federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio worldwide for six months over a racist comment he made in August. The ban follows a similar move by UEFA and comes the day after the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Mutuma Ruteere, urged all countries “to take appropriate measures to harness the unique potential of sports to debunk racial superiority discourses, mobilise people and convey messages about equality and non-discrimination.”In Ruteere’s remarks to the UN he said, “Eradicating racism from sports is an urgent concern that requires collective action by international organizations, international sports federations, national Governments, national sports federations and civil society.”In his successful campaign for the presidency of the Italian Football Federation, Tavecchio said, “In England, they identify the players coming in and, if they are professional, they are allowed to play. Here instead we get ‘Opti Poba’, who previously ate bananas and then suddenly becomes a first-team player with Lazio.”Despite his remarks Tavecchio managed to secure 63.63% in the election from an electoral college comprising 278 representatives from Serie A, Serie B, the Lega Pro, the Amateur League, the Players’ Association, the Coaches’ Association and the Referees’ Association and a subsequent FIGC investigation was dropped after Tavecchio apologised saying he was misunderstood.As a result of the ban, FIFA said that Tavecchio will be “ineligible for any position as a FIFA official for a period of six months starting from October 7, 2014.” “The case relates to racist comments made by Mr Tavecchio during his FIGC presidential election campaign,” the statement said. “FIFA’s stance against any form of discrimination is unequivocal.”Article three of the FIFA statutes expressly prohibits discrimination of any kind against persons on account of their race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or sexual orientation.”Although the FIFA response to Tavecchio’s comments will prevent him from sitting on any FIFA committees, the worry is that a man who could express such views still heads the Italian Federation and that tolerance for racism is clearly so widespread in Italian football.last_img

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