Prince Ali criticises FIFA for disbanding anti-racism task force

Reuters , Monday 26 Sep 2016

Prince Ali
Former FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (Photo: Reuters)

Former FIFA presidential candidate Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan has criticised that FIFA's decision to wind up its anti-racism task force as worrying and shameful.

The decision emerged on Friday when Osasu Obayiuwana, a Nigerian broadcaster and lawyer who was a member of the panel, published a letter on Twitter which he received from FIFA saying the task force was "dissolved and no longer in operation."

FIFA did not reply to a request for comment on Monday.

The decision came less than two years before Russia, a country which has been plagued by incidents of racism in football, hosts the next World Cup.

"The notion that the current FIFA leadership believes that the task force's recommendations have been implemented is shameful," said Prince Ali, who has twice run for the FIFA presidency.

He added that the announcement was "incredibly worrying."

"Never has the need to combat racism and racial discrimination been more evident than it is in the world we live in today," said Prince Ali.

"It is not something that any governing body with any semblance of responsibility can down play or deny.

"The reality, as with many programs within FIFA, is that the task force was never given real support since its conception and its role was more about FIFA's image than actually tackling the issues."

The letter published by Obayiuwana said the task force had achieved the goals which were set out for it when it was created under the leadership of the disgraced former FIFA president Sepp Blatter in 2013.

"We are delighted to inform you that all of the task force's recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing," it said.

The task force's original chairman, Jeffrey Webb, was among high-ranking soccer officials arrested in Zurich in May last year.

Webb has since pleaded guilty in the United States to offences linked to racketeering, fraud and money laundering. He was one of 42 soccer officials and entities indicted last year, plunging FIFA into its worst-ever crisis.

Webb was replaced as head of the task force by Constant Omary, a FIFA Council member from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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