Piara Powar said FIFA have to come through on the tougher penalties on racism they have flagged, which could see nations punished with exclusion from World Cup qualifiers.
Powar, executive director of Football Against Racism in Europe, said the launching of FIFA’s Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System in London on Tuesday should result in harsher penalties for football associations that fail to stamp out racist fans.
“We face the prospect of teams that are playing in the World Cup qualifier that are accused and found guilty of racism or other forms of discrimination at those matches, will then find themselves excluded from the competition within three matches – because the regulations allow for that,” Powar said at the system’s launch in London.
“Our observers will collect evidence that supports a prosecution.
“And in the end that’s the sort of scenario I think that we have to face up to.
“There will be some difficult decisions that need to be taken by FIFA.
“There will be some difficult decisions that countries will have to accept, the debate that goes with that, the educational process that then follows that.”
Three years out from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Powar said the controversial bid winner would have to continue to work on education to minimize the possibility of racists incidents at the showpiece.
“I think the issue we have in Russia is that the domestic leagues have a big issue and until the Russian authorities, the Sports Ministry, the Interior Ministry, the Russian FA, have a clear plan on how to deal with those problems and begin to take on the educational work and then the security piece as well, that those stories will continue,” Powar said.
“In terms of the World Cup, I think there are two factors – one is that we always know that when there is a big major tournament, the population comes together.
“They know they are in the public eye, they know the world is looking at them and so they generally rise to the occasion.
“Now in Russia it’s a vast land mass and there will be stadiums in remote places where we might find incidents of racism, of the kind we would never have seen in Brazil [at the 2014 World Cup], of the kind that we didn’t see in Ukraine and Poland [at Euro 2012].
“But there is always that danger I think and that’s part of the danger of going somewhere new, part of the danger with placing the spotlight on a country.
“I think all we can do is try and work with FIFA, try to work with the Russian authorities, to try and make sure those risks are minimized.”
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