Webb speaks on racism at FIFA Congress


PORT LUIS, Mauritius -- Following an address on Friday at the annual FIFA Congress by FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, chairman of the FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination, was the overwhelming approval of the FIFA resolution on the fight against racism and discrimination.

The resolution is based on three major principles: education, prevention, and sanctions, which include sporting sanctions, such as point deductions and relegation. The endorsement of the resolution was warmly welcomed by a standing ovation from the Congress delegates.

Below, please find a transcript of Webb's speech.



Jeffrey Webb's speech to the 63rd FIFA Congress (May 31, 2013)

As Chairman of the FIFA Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force, let me introduce to you the proposed resolutions:

- Having regard to FIFA's objective to improve the game of football constantly and promote it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values;

- Having regard to FIFA's robust regulatory framework that is already in place to fight all kinds of racism and discrimination, which was further strengthened by FIFA Congress with a Code of Conduct;

- Having regard to FIFA's responsibility to ensure inclusivity and human dignity for everyone involved in the beautiful game;

- Asserting that despite the various efforts that have already been taken, the racism and discrimination that occurs in today's society is still mirrored in football;

- Acknowledging that both prevention and sanctions are key to tackling the issues at stake;

- Upholding and complementing the principles of the FIFA Against Racism ratified by the FIFA Congress in Buenos Aires in 2001;

- Reminding the member associations about their obligation to apply the sanctions provided for in the FIFA Statutes and the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC);

- Reminding the member associations about their responsibility to eliminate racism and discrimination in football within their jurisdiction.

The following measures shall be implemented on a global level in football:

EDUCATION: competition organizers shall establish a concrete action plan, showing their intention to fight all forms of racism and discrimination among their players, officials and supporters.

PREVENTION: Competition regulation shall foresee a specialized official to be in the stadium to identify potential acts of racism or discrimination with the aim of easing the pressure on referees and facilitating the availability of evidence for the judicial bodies to take decision.

SANCTIONS: The sanctions provided for in the FDC, which are mandatory for all member associations in accordance with the FDC, offer relevant judicial bodies the necessary discretion when deciding on specific cases of supporter misconduct. However, in order to harmonize the pronounced sanctions on a worldwide level, the sanctions imposed on a club or representative team shall in principle be issued in a two-stage approach:

For a first or minor offence, the sanctions of a warning, a fine and/or the playing of a match behind closed doors shall be applied.

For reoffenders or for serious incidents, sanctions such as point deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation shall be applied.

Furthermore, any person (player, official, match official, etc.) who commits such an offence should be suspended for at least five matches combined with a stadium ban as foreseen in the FDC.

As Nelson Mandela once said, 'sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else can for it speaks to people in a language they understand.'

We have a special responsibility in the way we can impact football and society. One of the opportunities this task force has is its vast reach throughout FIFA's 209 member associations where we can implement the resolutions in every region and every country where football is played, bringing universality to the mechanisms that combat racism and discrimination. Let us all show the world that the football family is committed to continuing its evolution into an anti-discrimination, multi-cultural organization that promotes positive role models to society.

We as a family have met various challenges over this long journey which started 108 years ago when the only means to expand the passion for football throughout the world was by conquering the oceans. Not long after, during World War ll, competitions were suspended and many players were deployed to fight, resulting in numerous deaths. In 1976, the football family stood together and took action against apartheid, resulting in South Africa's suspension from FIFA. Likewise, the 1986 Congress in Mexico has gone down in history as a decisive moment for the world governing body to take a stance against women's inequality within football.

In 1999, a new President challenged the world with a fresh vision of development aimed at expanding FIFA's reach by building new homes for football in all of the 209 member countries. Through his commitment to providing resources for development throughout the globe, he also led an era guided by the resolution to dispel all differences.

My question to you now is how will 2013 be judged by future generations? Let this be the defining moment that history will reflect upon in gratitude as football stands up against racism and discrimination.

Let's all stand up against racism and discrimination.