ZURICH (AP) — FIFA President Sepp Blatter has softened his stance on calling for clubs to be punished with relegation after serious racist abuse, suggesting that fans would deliberately provoke incidents.
Blatter says relegation sanctions are "not a simple solution" because they could "lead to people coming to the stadium wanting to stop the game intentionally."
In January, Blatter discussed sanctions for racism in an interview for FIFA's website and said "the best would be the deduction of points and the relegation of a team, because finally the club is responsible for their spectators."
Blatter told a FIFA-sponsored conference on ethics in sports that "we have to really issue drastic sanctions. How far can we go?"
Blatter has appointed FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb to lead a task force which will propose penalties.