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Blatter steps back from deducting points

The FIFA president backed down from his stance that teams may be docked points at the World Cup because of racist abuse by fans.

india Updated: Apr 25, 2006 17:58 IST

FIFA president Sepp Blatter backed down on Tueday from his stance that teams may be docked points at the World Cup because of racist abuse by fans.

Although the three-point sanctions apply for racist behavior by players, coaches or team officials, Blatter said it was too difficult to apply them to spectators because fans could use them to affect the results of games.

Blatter announced last week that FIFA would deduct three points from teams whose players and fans are guilty of racist behavior and that the sanctions will be implemented at club level from the start of the next domestic seasons.

But the sanctions at the June 9-July 9 World Cup in Germany will only apply to players on the field and anyone on the touchline.

"Coming to the specific question of the World Cup, yes if it it's on the field of play, yes if it's on the technical bench or identified around the football pitch," he told reporters at FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

"But, when it comes to the World Cup public, you have an international audience and you don't know where they are sitting.

"How do you then identify if someone will be or won't be in favor or against (a team)?"

Blatter said that players lining up before each World Cup game would hold banners condemning racism and, from the quarterfinals onwards, the team captains will read messages before the match.

"What we can do is appeal that there will be no racism," Blatter said. "This is the only thing we can ask, a little bit of respect."