The leader of world football’s governing body said that a boycott would achieve “nothing”.
His comments came in response to a threat from Manchester City player Yaya Toure that black players may boycott world football’s biggest tournament if they feel uncomfortable with going to Russia in 2018.
Toure insists that he was the subject of monkey chants in City’s 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow. UEFA’s investigation into the alleged incident is ongoing. Manchester City is backing the Ivorian.
However, quoted in the Telegraph, Blatter has insisted that whilst FIFA must bear some of the responsibility in eliminating racism from the game, a boycott would not be the answer. “In the case of Touré it is about UEFA,” said Blatter, “he suggested a boycott, but a boycott has never been any solution.”
The Swiss then cited the examples of failed Olympic boycotts as evidence to suggest that a refusal to attend the event is not the answer. “We have already seen boycotts of the Olympic Games, and what was the result? Nothing – because if you have a problem, you cannot run away from it. The problem is still there.”
“You have to solve it, and we know this,” continued Blatter. “We will make sure at the next FIFA executive committee meeting, in Brazil in December; we will again appeal to everybody to deliver sanctions. If you take one of the teams out of the Champions League, think about what will happen. This will only stop if the sanctions work.”
In reference to potential punishments for teams that break the rules, Blatter admitted that “financial sanctions do not hurt.”He instead hinted at more severe punishments, “you could deduct points or expel people from a competition”
Whilst UEFA’s investigation into Toure’s allegations is ongoing, both CSKA and Russian football’s leaders are adamant that the Ivorian misheard the supposed chants.