Saying that its mission has been "completely fulfilled," FIFA, the world governing body of association soccer, disbanded an anti-racism task force. This comes before the 2018 World Cup, to be held in Moscow. "I wish I could say that I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not," Nigerian journalist and commentator Osasu Obayiuwana, a member of the task force, told the AP. "The problem of racism in football remains a burning, very serious and topical one, which need continuous attention."
After the task force's first chairman, FIFA Vice President Jeffrey Webb, was arrested last year as part of the U.S. government's probe into corruption in world soccer, he was replaced by Constant Omari, who Obayiuwana says never called any meetings of the task force.
Obayiuwana says he received a message from FIFA diversity and anti-discrimination manager Gerd Dembowski on Friday that dismantled the task force. "The FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination was set up with your help on a temporary basis to develop recommendations for FIFA," Dembowski wrote. "We are therefore delighted to inform you that all of the task force's recommendations have been implemented and all resulting projects are ongoing."
Research published in 2015 by a Russian NGO and an anti-racism network linked to the European arm of FIFA found that racist incidents involving Russian soccer fans are on the rise.
Sam Stecklow is the Weekend Editor for Fusion.