Football chief Jeffrey Webb must be one of the hardest working executives in football as he crosses the globe in the execution of his duties as president of CONCACAF, a vice president of FIFA and still remains at the helm of the Cayman Islands Football Association.
FIFA member associations have approved the anti-racism and discrimination resolutions proposed by the governing body’s newly-formed task force chaired by Webb during its 63rd Congress in Mauritius last week.
The implementation of these resolutions in all regions and countries where football is played will bring universality to the mechanisms that combat racism and discrimination.
“My question to you now is, ‘How will 2013 be judged by future generations?’,” he said. “Let this be the defining moment that history will reflect upon in gratitude as football stands up against racism and discrimination.
“Let us all show the world that the football family is committed to continuing its evolution into an anti-discrimination, multicultural organisation that promotes positive role models to society.”
FIFA president Joseph Blatter also stressed the importance of the fight against discrimination. “There have been despicable events this year that have cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society,” he said.
“I am speaking of the politics of hate – racism, ignorance, discrimination, intolerance, small-minded prejudice.
“Through the newly formed task force, led by Jeffrey Webb, and the tough resolution before you this week, we can send a strong signal to the racists that their time is up. The ball does not discriminate and neither should we.”
The task force will support FIFA in applying its zero tolerance policy and strengthening its long-standing fight against discrimination worldwide.
High profile offenders on racism issues in recent times have included Chelsea’s John Terry and Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Victims of racism have included Mario Barotelli, especially since he returned to Italian football where the racist “ultra” fans seem to go unpunished.
The task force will also remind the member associations about their obligation to apply the sanctions provided for in the FIFA statutes and the FIFA disciplinary code as part of their responsibility to eliminate racism and discrimination in football within their jurisdictions.
“Sport has the power to change the world, the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way that little else can, for it speaks to people in a language they understand,” said Webb, quoting Nelson Mandela.
“We, as a family, have met various challenges over this long journey to expand the passion for football throughout the world, which started 108 years ago,” Webb added.
“In 1976, the football family stood together and took action against apartheid. Likewise, the 1986 Congress in Mexico has gone down in history as a decisive moment for the world governing body to take a stance against women’s inequality within football.”
As guest speaker, FIFA invited South Africa’s current Minister of Human Settlements and representative of the Mandela Foundation Tokyo Sexwale to address the audience.
“Football has a global platform that reaches millions of people around the world. Be careful in assisting these racist acts,” Sexwale said. “I thank you for this opportunity not only in saying no to racism but also in taking a firm action.”