FIFA is catching serious heat for disbanding its anti-racism task force this week, as if it were saying “mission accomplished” about dealing with racism in the sport.
Granted, the task-force hasn’t covered itself in glory: Its leader, former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, pleaded guilty in the FIFA scandal, and his replacement didn’t convene a meeting in over a year in charge. But one FIFA insider says it was “idiotic” to disband the task force, and he expects that FIFA will reverse course to avert a PR nightmare.
The public onslaught continued Tuesday when Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure blasted the decision in a statement saying:
"When I was asked by FIFA to help with the fight against racism in football, I didn’t think twice. I have experienced racism all my life–be that in the streets or in the stadiums. So to help address this was my responsibility–a way of preventing other players and fans from going through the same issues I had found in my career.
“When I received the letter telling me the FIFA task force was to be discontinued I was very disappointed. The letter listed the good work that had been carried out as a result of the task force’s advice and recommendations. So my question is, after failing to deal with racism sufficiently for decades–why stop when something is beginning to work? Are FIFA being complacent ahead of a World Cup in Russia? This makes no sense.
“The task force brought together the expertise of campaigners, football administrators and players. It was a resource that gave FIFA the expertise they clearly did not have before. As a group, the task force could help shape and put in place the most effective initiatives to keep players and fans safe. The task force could question when FIFA were not delivering on it’s promise to do as much as they could in this area.
“My only hope is that FIFA have thought this through. The letter I received does not fill me with confidence. It will be the fans and players that suffer if FIFA do not get this right.”