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10 Ways FIFA Can Nip Racism in the Bud

Peter WebsterContributor IIIFebruary 22, 2012

10 Ways FIFA Can Nip Racism in the Bud

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    The racism issue in football seems to have reared its ugly head quite prominently of late.

    Those who thought that racism was dead are very much mistaken and either extremely ignorant or naive.

    The major stories that have garnered the most media attention have been the altercations between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, and also John Terry and Anton Ferdinand.

    With one issue resolved and the other dragging on like a bad episode of CSI, it seems that football needs to get its affairs in order and declare once and for all what the punishments will be if racism is incited by a player, club or fan.

    Here are some of the things FIFA can do to nip racism in the bud.

Bans for the Player

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    Statutory bans are difficult to sanction because clearly some racist actions or words are worse than others.

    Or are they? Perhaps you may feel that racism is racism no matter what.

    Either way, if a player is found guilty of racism then he has to receive a ban.

    Luis Suarez was banned for eight matches following his abuse of Patrice Evra, but was that too much, not enough or just right?

    Perhaps an escalating slide should be introduced by FIFA to make it clear what punishments shall be issued in line with certain offences.

    It wouldn't be easy, but not a lot is in life.

Lifetime Bans for Fans

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    People say that fans should be banned for life if they are found guilty of shouting racist abuse towards the players.

    Surely if they are given lifetime bans then the players that are found guilty should receive the same punishment?

    If that's your viewpoint then I have to disagree.

    If we refer to the Suarez-Evra case again, no one else on the field of play heard what Suarez said to Evra other than Evra himself. Therefore, at the time, Suarez only offended one man.

    A group of supporters in a stand shouting and singing at the top of their voices have the capacity to offend multiple players, staff members, other fans in the crowd and people watching from their TV sets at home.

    That is why racism on the terraces needs to be tackled firmly.

Fines

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    Coupled with the bans that players receive if found guilty, fines are imposed but they are way too low.

    Again, Suarez received a £40,000 fine for his faux pas and that would be a sizeable punishment to your average man on the street, but to Suarez it's probably the equivalent to around three or four days' wages.

    How about introducing a fine that states the player gets no wages for the duration of his ban?

    That would be a more-than-appropriate punishment for the player considering the crime, and the club wouldn't suffer because of one player's actions.

    It would certainly make the player stop and think before committing the offence again.

Selective Media

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    We now live in a world where camera phones have made news instantly available across the planet at the touch of a button.

    Whilst that kind of worldwide coverage on topics is welcome in my eyes, it can also have an adverse affect on sensitive issues.

    The Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra handshake was spoken about before the game and the world watched on as Suarez decided to resist the opportunity to patch things up with the Frenchman.

    Was it right that the incident was televised live, or would it have been prudent to skip the handshake part of the ceremony all together in the interests of avoiding such a confrontation?

    If the handshake had not been televised, would there have been as much furore about it in the newspapers and online?

    Probably not.

    Some people just don't like each other, and being asked to shake the hand of someone you don't like seems rather daft to me.

Kick Racism out of Football

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    Racism needs a fresh approach as clearly nothing has changed over the past 20 years; we just haven't been witnessing it.

    You will never be able to stamp racism out completely; that's just the nature of the beast and the small mindedness of certain people.

    The Let's Kick Racism Out Of Football body, which was established in 1997, seems a little dated now and needs to be revamped for the modern age.

Police Involvement

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    As a member of the public made the complaint with regards to John Terry's alleged abuse of Anton Ferdinand, the Crown Prosecution Service has picked up the case.

    The FA can have no involvement until the CPS have finished their investigation and punishment of the player, but of course the punishments don't have to mirror each other.

    If the CPS finds no criminal element, Terry can still be found guilty by the FA and banned or fined as deemed appropriate.

    Terry has already been stripped of the captaincy which subsequently caused the resignation of Fabio Capello months before a major international competition.

    Whilst the police involvement has to come first, the question is whether all on-field racism issues should become police-related.

    If a fan is hurling abuse from the terraces, the police will intervene.

    They didn't do that in the Suarez-Evra case.

    Should FIFA make it so that they always do?

Start the Process Early

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    In order to combat the racist of tomorrow, FIFA need to instill values in the youth of today.

    School visits by a mixture of player nationalities and backgrounds would go a long way into demonstrating the message to children about harmony.

    Children of all abilities look to footballers as heroes; it's time they acted like it.

Club Takes the Blame?

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    In order to stop abuse occurring on the terraces, perhaps FIFA needs to start punishing the club as opposed to the individuals.

    Whilst I don't think that approach is correct, it would go a long way into making the clubs more proactive in stamping out the problems.

    If the clubs aren't working as hard as governing bodies to combat the problem, nothing will change.

Incentives

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    As if there's not enough money in football already, FIFA could approach the issue from a different angle and offer clubs incentives for the least abusive fans.

    Again this would get the club on side as they can gain financial benefit, and the fans wouldn't want to let their team down on the chance or earning extra cash.

    The pot could be made up of a payment from each league club, e.g £250,000, which would give a £5 million bonus to the best behaved fans in the league, using the Premier League as an example.

    Liverpool fans would not want their £250,000 going to Manchester United or Everton, so big-game issues might be diffused slightly.

Collaboration

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    When I asked some friends about this topic, one response I got was, "They won't stop racism. It's a worldwide issue that one organisation alone cannot possibly rectify."

    So perhaps that friend was right, and if he was, then FIFA need help.

    FIFA need massive help.

    Whether it's through local FAs, clubs, former players, current players, police or somebody else...they certainly can't do it alone.

Afterthoughts

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    Some of the methods I have suggested are clearly more achievable than others, but I fear my friend was right in that it will never be combated 100 percent effectively.

    One thing for sure is that football needs to be focused on the sport and not this circus that has erupted of late.

    Racism exists in every walk of life, so why is it so much more prominent in football?

    Something needs changing and aside from these ideas, I don't know what else could be done.

    I'd be interested to hear your suggestions via the comment section below, or alternatively hit me up on Twitter @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.

    Thanks for reading.

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