MIAMI: FIFA’s Jeff Webb has hailed the expulsion of Gremio from the Brazilian cup after racist insults from fans aimed at a Santos player last week writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Webb, the president of CONCACAF, heads the world federation’s anti-discrimination task force.
The decision by the disciplinary commission of the Superior Court of Sporting Justice in Brazil came after a World Cup there in which Webb was openly critical of failings in the FIFA disciplinary system.
He said: “This unanimous verdict [in Brazil] is a courageous accomplishment for the world of football.”
Gremio were losing 2-0 at home to Santos 2-last Thursday when a group of Gremio fans began racially abusing the opposition’s black goalkeeper Aranha. Live television coverage showed them shouting “monkey” at the player.
The five-member disciplinary commission of the sports court barred Gremio from playing the second leg and fined the club £13,500.
Commission president Fabricio Dazzi said: “This is a landmark ruling. I don’t think racial abuse incidents like that will happen again. The fans will think twice, knowing that their club can be punished for their acts.”
Gremio’s coach is Luiz Felipe Scolari, who quit as national team coach after the World Cup ebarrassments against Germany and Holland.
The referee and linesmen officiating at the match were punished by the court for failing to report the incident. The Santos goalkeeper reacted angrily at the abuse, in the 87th minute of play, but the referee said he did not hear the racial insults and thought Aranha was merely wasting time.
Fans indentified as having been involved in the incident will be banned from attending matches in Brazil for 720 days.
Gremio president Fabio Koff said the club was being punished too harshy for for the actions of a small group of racist fans and would appeal.
Earlier this year the club were fined after its supporters racially abused black defender Paulao from Gremio’s local rivals Internacional.
Gremio have won the Club World Cup once, South America’s Libertadores Cup twice, the Brazilian league twice and the Brazil Cup four times.