ZURICH: On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the football family is reinforcing the importance of eradicating racism and discrimination from football and society.

We are restating our commitment to promoting diversity within the world of football.

A year ago, on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, FIFA was invited by the United Nations to take part in a discussion on the issue of racism in sports.

Since this fruitful discussion, FIFA and the football community have taken several important steps in the fight against racism and all forms of discrimination.

A Task Force was created to develop a strategy and in May 2013 the FIFA Congress approved a resolution, with a new set of sanctions in cases of racism. These include point deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation for reoffenders or for serious incidents.

As the governing body of the most popular sport in the world, FIFA has taken a zero-tolerance stance towards discrimination. We will continue to put our vast platform at the service of humankind. We are hopeful this will help remove the discriminatory barriers that steer focus away from the game of football.

Chosen by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, this year’s theme is to highlight the role sports can play in combatting racism and discrimination.

The football family has taken a firm and united stance in order to provide a strong, effective and influential voice against all forms of discrimination, by means of education, prevention and sanctions.

We are aware that we have a special responsibility given the way we can have an impact on football and society, especially with young people. Our goal is to promote a sport in which all individuals embrace diversity and bring universality to the game, throughout the world.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil will be the perfect occasion to send a clear message to the world: football is for everybody.

The quarter-finals of the tournament will be dedicated to the fight against discrimination. I am convinced that Brazil, with its diverse society, will be the perfect host. As President Dilma Rousseff mentioned recently, this will be a World Cup against racism and all forms of discrimination.

Football has the power to promote integration and endorse positive roles models in society. This beautiful sport is filled with passion, and passion has the power to pave the way for deep change.

As a clear mirror of 21th century society, football aspires to create an environment of fellowship and respect that enhances the true talent within all human beings. For achievement has no bias. Our true identity is indeed our talent.

Proclaimed by the United Nations as a day of observance, FIFA values this occasion and will ensure the fulfilment of our commitment to eradicate inequality from our fields.

As we start the day, let us all connect into the passion that fuels the positive change we want to see in the world. Let’s all stand up against racism and discrimination. Let’s embrace diversity.

Jeffrey Webb

Chairman of FIFA Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force