Racism in Russia is 'big challenge': FIFA's Webb

Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:56pm EDT
 
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By Simon Evans

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Racism in World Cup hosts Russia was a "big challenge" ahead of the 2018 tournament said FIFA anti-racism chief Jeffrey Webb who urged clubs to tackle the problem from the "dressing-room out".

Webb, chairman of FIFA’s Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force told, Reuters the Russian authorities had acknowledged the problem and are committed to dealing with it. “Russia's a big challenge,” he told Reuters in an interview. "We've met with minister of sport Vitaly Mutko, who is a member of the FIFA executive committee, and he has publicly said, ‘Look, it's a challenge, it's obviously a problem’.

“They are going to start addressing it. We are going to work with them hand-in-hand,” Webb said. The CONCACAF president added that educational activities had to be at the center of the initiative.

“Education, it has to be education. You are not born that way, it is something you are taught, someone teaches you to hate or to develop a certain way, we have to go into the communities,” he said, adding that soccer could learn something from the way American athletes work in their localities.

“You also look at the way that professional athletes in this country embrace their communities, the way they go into the inner cities, the way they work, their foundations and so forth.

"Everyone is doing something in their community and they are tearing down those barriers by doing that,” he said.

“Start talking, educate, they have so much power. We have to do it from the inside, out. You have to do it in the dressing room, make sure that level of education is there... and then at the entire club.

“When you impact the club, you impact the stadium, you impact the community. It has to start with coaches, players first in that dressing room -- when that is there it spreads out,” he added.   Continued...

 
Joseph "Sepp" Blatter (R) gestures next to  Jeffrey Webb during a news conference at the CONCACAF congress in Panama City April 19, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso