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Men's Football ‘Lack of sufficient evidence’ sees Fifa close another racism case

FIFA closed a racism investigation today that involved a Spain player and England’s Morgan Gibbs-White from the Under-17 World Cup final.

Fifa said its disciplinary panel dismissed the charge against the Spanish player because of a “lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player’s claim.”

It is the fourth recent case of a high-profile allegation of racist abuse of black players being closed without action.

The latest ruling, from England’s 5-2 win in India last October, followed “a thorough investigation,” Fifa said.

In March, Uefa ended two investigations because of a lack of verifiable evidence.

Those claims were made by Borussia Dortmund forward Michy Batshuayi against Italian club Atalanta and Liverpool youth forward Rhian Brewster against a Spartak Moscow opponent.

Brewster also played in the Under-17 World Cup final, scoring the first goal in England’s comeback after trailing 2-0 in the first half.

“Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the disciplinary committee would like to restate Fifa’s unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination,” the football body said in a statement.

The English Football Association concluded just days ago that they found no proof that West Brom forward Jay Rodriguez racially abused Brighton defender Gaetan Bong.

Rodriguez was accused of saying to the defender: "You're black and you stink."

Bong said on yesterday that he stands by what he claimed and that he knows “what I heard and I did not mishear.”

Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “The outcome delivered by Fifa is unsatisfactory.

“It leaves questions unanswered such as how much more evidence is required than two people separately hearing and corroborating the alleged abuse, in order to be acceptable as sufficient? Are they not believed as honest because of who they are? Who are the investigators and who makes such ridiculous decisions?

“Are any of these people from BAME backgrounds? Are any of these people competent with the personal experience of having suffered from racial abuse and discrimination?

“Recent decisions like this, and others recently by Uefa, only give encouragement to those players, and fans, who want to racially abuse and act in discriminatory ways to continue and to do so without punishment!

“There are issues within this situation that must be resolved and we urge The Football Association to follow this up with Fifa and Uefa, as the current handling of discriminatory cases about the alleged treatment of young Black players representing their country and clubs is nothing short of a disgrace. The clubs themselves must also join with The FA to tell Fifa and Uefa about the consequences of this not being resolved satisfactorily as a matter of urgency.

“With this outcome, there has to be little confidence that Fifa can effectively deal with any potential incidents of racism and discrimination that may occur during this summer’s World Cup and that is not a prospect to fill any with the confidence about what is in store in Russia this summer.

“It will be interesting to see the outcome of the latest Fifa charge of racism involving Russia and the alleged racist abuse of Black French players"

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