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Fifa says anti-racism taskforce had ‘completed work’

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Fifa has defended its decision to scrap an anti-racism taskforce, saying it had completed the work it set out to do.

The Fifa Taskforce Against Racism and Discrimination was set up in 2013 to develop recommendations for tackling the issue.

Critics have questioned the dismantling of the group, saying racism is ongoing.

But Fifa General Secretary Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura said: “The taskforce had a specific mandate, which it has fully fulfilled.”

Former taskforce member Osau Obayiuwana told the Associated Press: “I wish I could say I am shocked by the decision, but unfortunately I am not.

“I personally think there remained a lot of very serious work for the taskforce to have done – the 2018 World Cup in Russia being one such matter. But it is evident the Fifa administration takes a different position.”

Speaking at the Soccerex global football conference, Samoura explained that the group’s recommendations had now been turned into a “strong programme” to tackle racism.

Responding to criticism of the decision, the general secretary of football’s world governing body added: “My presence here is a demonstration that Fifa has a zero tolerance policy against discrimination. Not only racism but any kind of discrimination including violation of human rights.”

Samoura will present Fifa’s first Diversity Award at the convention in Manchester on Monday.

The anti-racism taskforce was established by then Fifa president Sepp Blatter and headed by Jeffrey Webb until he was arrested in 2015 as part of an investigation into corruption.

Its recommendations included introducing extra observers at games and tough penalties for clubs whose players, officials or fans are guilty of racism.

Earlier this month, European football’s governing body Uefa ordered Russian club FC Rostov to close a section of their stadium for their Champions League game against PSV Eindhoven as punishment for the racist behaviour of their fans.

Uefa says fans in Rostov-on-Don, one of the host cities for the 2018 World Cup, were guilty of unspecified offences during their play-off victory against Ajax on 24 August.

Former Fifa presidential candidate Tokyo Sexwale had used his speech before Gianni Infantino was elected as Blatter’s replacement in February to call for the group to become a permanent committee.

“Racism is going to be with us for a long, long time,” Sexwale, a former anti-apartheid activist, said at the time. “It can’t just be a committee that comes ad hoc.”

News

Alexander Zverev World number one to win ATP Finals in London

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Alexander Zverev stunned world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets to win the season-ending ATP Finals and earn the biggest victory of his career.




Djokovic, 31, was the heavy favourite to win a sixth finals title but was outclassed 6-4 6-3 by the German.

Third seed Zverev broke Djokovic for a 5-4 lead in the first set and then served three big aces to take the set.

Zverev, 21, continued to dominate in the second set and sealed a memorable victory as Djokovic faltered.

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“I’m unbelievable happy, obviously it is the biggest title I have ever won,” said Zverev, who also took home around £2m in prize money.

Zverev lost to the Serb in straight sets in the round-robin stage but, after beating Roger Federer in Saturday’s semi-finals, produced a more confident performance to stop Djokovic equalling Federer’s haul of end-of-season titles.

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Zverev missed his first championship point before hitting a sensational backhand down the line for victory, falling to the court in a mixture of disbelief and celebration as Djokovic jumped over the net to congratulate him.

“You definitely played much better than you did the group stage,” Djokovic told Zverev with a laugh. “You deserved to win.”

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Crime

Durban Court Convicts Nine for public violence in South Africa.

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Following the chaotic scenes that occurred after the Nedbank Cup semi-final at Moses Mabhida Stadium in April, South African Police Services (SAPS) have confirmed that nine people have been convicted of public violence.



Kaizer Chiefs were knocked out of the competition after losing 2-0 to eventual champions Free State Stars, which prompted scores of angry fans to storm the pitch, causing damage worth R2.6 million.

The SAPS issued out a statement on Thursday, revealing that nine of the 11 suspects who appeared in the Durban Regional Court in connection with the incident were successfully convicted.

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The incident left 18 people injured, with six admitted to hospital, and the match result prompted Steve Komphela – who coached Kaizer Chiefs at the time – to resign from his post after a tumultuous tenure where the club failed to secure silverware in three years.

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The club was fined by the PSL, and was forced to stage two home matches at the venue – against Polokwane City and Chippa United -behind closed doors.

Should a similar incident occur in the next 24 months, Amakhosi will have to play another home fixture without any crowd support, according to PSL sanction.

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-TheSouthAfrican.

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