Muntari: Italian FA may be disciplined by Fifa over handling of racism claims

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Italian football authorities may face disciplinary action over the treatment of Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari.

Muntari, 32, was sent off after leaving the field claiming he was racially abused during a Serie A game.

He was initially banned for one game but had this overturned by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC).

“We have a committee in charge of monitoring this and the committee will take action,” Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura told BBC Sport.

“What matters is that the committee has to act and the sooner the better.

“I have my personal feelings on anybody that is treated like he has been treated, on the pitch and off the pitch but I’m not here for my personal matters. I’m here to make sure that Fifa takes, through the committee, the appropriate action for any single discriminatory action.”

On Tuesday, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said he would speak to ex-Portsmouth player Muntari, who believes world football’s governing body, and European equivalent Uefa are “not taking racism seriously”.

“We will work together,” said Infantino, who also said he intends to talk to the head of FIGC, Carlo Tavecchio.

“Unfortunately idiots, there are always idiots everywhere but we have to fight them. We have to work on the people.”

Fifa was criticised for disbanding its anti-racism task force last September.

The organisation defended this decision, with Samoura saying that it had fulfilled the mandate for which it was set up in 2013.

Samoura adopted a different stance to Infantino, saying: “I don’t have to call people anytime that they have been victim of an abuse.”

Sulley Muntari has also played for Portsmouth, Sunderland and Inter Milan

She continued: “We’ve been regularly publicising the action of the committee on every action that relates to racism, homophobic chants and any kind of discrimination.

“We have monitoring too on anti-discrimination. We have heavy sanction every time we have been receiving reports.”

At the weekend, Juventus’ Morocco defender Medhi Benatia cut short a post-match television interview on Sunday after claiming to hear a racist insult in his earpiece.

On Monday, Boca Junior player Frank Fabra reportedly left the pitch in tears after receiving racist abuse during his side’s match with Estudiantes.

La Nation says that the Boca players approached the referee to halt the game but he deemed the insults to be isolated.

Fifa racism task-force disbanded

Fifa’s anti-racism taskforce was established in 2013 by former president Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb until he was arrested in 2015 as part of an investigation into corruption.

It was disbanded in September 2016 with Fifa claiming that it had fulfilled its “specific mandate”. Samoura added that the taskforce’s recommendations had been turned into a “strong programme” to tackle racism.

Its recommendations included introducing extra observers at games and tough penalties for clubs whose players, officials or fans are guilty of racism.

A number of these have been put into action, including the introduced of an Anti-Discrimination Monitoring System to assess 850 high-risk matches for potential discriminatory incidents during the 2018 World Cup qualifiers and friendlies.

The decision to disband it was criticised, with former Fifa vice-president Prince Ali bin al-Hussein describing it as “extremely worrying”.

Anti-discrimination group Kick it Out was initially “perplexed” by the decision but said it was “reassured” after holding talks with Fifa on the issue.

BBC

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