FIFA brings back anti-racism special committee and gives Vinicius the lead

June 16 – Almost seven years after scrapping an anti-racism task force, declaring its work was complete, FIFA has recognised the issue is far from resolved by setting up a similar body, this time headed by recent abuse victim Vinicius Jr .

The Real Madrid forward will lead a special committee made up of players who will suggest stricter punishments for discriminatory behaviour.

Vinicius was the victim of racist abuse on numerous occasions during the season and has been chosen by FIFA president Gianni Infantino to spearhead the new campaign.

“There will be no more football with racism in it. The games should be stopped immediately when it happens. Enough is enough,” Infantino told Reuters after meeting Vinicius and the Brazil national team, who play Guinea in Barcelona on Saturday as part of an anti-racism campaign led by the Brazilian FA (CBF).

“I asked Vinicius to lead this group of players that will present stricter punishments against racism that will later be implemented by all football authorities around the world.

“We need to hear the players and what they need to work in a safer environment. We are very serious about it.

“We will implement very blunt and strong punishments to end once and for all with the problem of racism in football. We can’t tolerate racism anymore.”

“An act of racism is a criminal act… From now on, FIFA will take legal actions with local authorities too, we will join complaints filed in local justice.

“It’s impossible to tolerate it anymore. We need the help and support from the authorities because the racists need to be identified, detained and banned for life from any stadium in the world.”

Brazil are playing two friendlies in Europe against both Guinea and Senegal as part of their anti-racism campaign.

“I’m overwhelmed and thankful for the huge support I received from everywhere,” Vinicius said in a statement. “Infantino came today to show his support and asked me for advice on which players I think should be on the committee Fifa is creating. I think it’s important and necessary, I embrace it.”

Back in 2016, FIFA came under considerable criticism for disbanding an anti-racism task force set up three years earlier by then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

It was initially headed by Jeffrey Webb, a FIFA vice-president at the time before he was arrested in 2015 as part of the FifaGate corruption scandal. After his fall from power, Webb was replaced on the committee until it was scrapped – and is still awaiting sentence for his role in FifaGate, having been under house arrest in the USA.

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