ZURICH: Kofi Annan has backed FIFA’s anti-racism stance as set out by president Sepp Blatter and task force leader Jeffrey Webb.

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations visited FIFA inZurichon Monday, three days after the annual congress in Mauritius at which Webb approved overwhelming support for tougher anti-discriminatory sanctions worldwide.

Annan, the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize winner, described how his own foundation and FIFA were in agreement on the importance of the issues.

He said: “Both FIFA and our foundation are based on the concepts of collaboration and interactivity. We believe in global development and peace.

“There are some wonderful things that can be achieved thanks to football. It has the power to bring people together, even in countries blighted by conflict, such as Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine. It is a wonderful tool.”

The latter comments are of particular significance because FIFA Congress entrusted Blatter with a new mission to try to ease the problems faced by Palestinian sport in coping with Israeli security restraints.

A particular focus will be on sport in the region later this week with the start of the UEFA European Under-21 finals in Israel.