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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 March 2006, 13:16 GMT
Blatter condemns Spain over Eto'o
By Ibrahim Sannie

Eto's says Zaragoza's ground should have been closed
Eto's says Zaragoza's ground should have been closed
Fifa president Sepp Blatter has described the 9,000 euros fine imposed on Real Zaragoza for the racist abuse of Samuel Eto'o as "ridiculous".

Zaragoza fans aimed racist taunts at the Barcelona forward during a Primera Liga match on Saturday.

"In my opinion, the disciplinary decision they have taken is ridiculous," Blatter told BBC Sport.

"It pains me to see yet another incident of racist behaviour...To be frank, it is time to get tough."

Blatter added: "Under Fifa's disciplinary code and code of ethics, severe sanctions could - and should - be applied in certain situations, leading even to the loss of points or relegation of a team."

Eto'o threatened to leave the pitch after a section of Zaragoza fans directed monkey chants at him on Saturday.

Even though the 9,000 euros fine (US$10,000) is significantly larger than the usual $700 imposed on Spanish clubs for such offences, Blatter believes the Spanish federation must do more to punish those involved in racist behaviour.

"This latest incident happened to one of the world's top players, playing for a top team in a top league," Blatter said.

A severe punishment was needed to eradicate this problem from football - perhaps the closing of [Zaragoza's] stadium for a year
Samuel Eto'o

"How many other incidents - not nearly as high profile - are occurring around the world with other teams and leagues? The answer - far too many."

Blatter also said Fifa's executive committee intended to step up its anti-racism campaign.

Their meeting, scheduled for 16-17 March, will put forward new legislation to ensure there is a unified procedure against racism throughout the football world.

"We will keep this process moving by calling for stricter sanctions to be imposed in the fight against discrimination, and consequently for the Fifa disciplinary code to be revised and implemented by our member associations," he added.

Eto'o has said a one-year ground closure, rather than a fine, would have been an appropriate sanction.

"Perhaps the closing of their stadium for a year, so that they have to play away (was required)," he said.

"I am not the only black in this league and I did what went through my head at the time.

"I am a football player and in this fight we must take decisions so that we do not feel uncomfortable."


SEE ALSO
Eto'o makes anti-racism protest
26 Feb 06 |  Europe


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