Soccer: Thuram criticizes FIFA for ending anti-racism project

Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:14pm EDT
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By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - French World Cup winner Lilian Thuram has criticized FIFA's decision to dissolve its anti-racism task force, telling Reuters he found the decision "shocking".

FIFA wrote to members in September to say it was disbanding the task force set up by then boss Sepp Blatter in 2013, and declaring that it had "completely fulfilled its temporary mission".

The former world and European champion and Serie A winner let fly at soccer's world governing body.

"I am extremely shocked that such an important organization that can reach millions of people, especially children, can say in 2016, in this global political situation, 'the job is done'," he told Reuters in Stockholm, where he was speaking on the subject of racism for his Lilian Thuram Foundation.

"It's very, very shocking."

After speaking to an invited audience about hearing monkey noises from the terraces as a player in Italy, the former AS Monaco, Parma, Juventus and Barcelona defender attacked the signals being sent by FIFA.

"There is a symbolism in them saying that, that 'this is no longer important to us'. It (racism) is a recurring problem in our societies.

"We must be on our guard and start to change the way we think, especially as football is an incredibly good way to get people to think differently. Football and sport are the best ways to reach that result."   Continued...

Former French soccer player Lilian Thuram attends an inauguration ceremony of a renovated football stadium in the West bank town of Al-Bireh near Ramallah April 14, 2011. REUTERS/Abed Omar Qusini