David Bernstein has formally accepted an invitation to join the FIFA Task Force Against Racism and Discrimination.
The FA Chairman first held discussions with FIFA Vice-President and CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb, who is chairing the new body, in March following an announcement by FIFA President Sepp Blatter. The FIFA Task Force will begin work next Monday in Zurich with an update on progress to be presented to the FIFA Congress at the end of the month.
Bernstein said: “I am delighted to have been approached by FIFA to sit on their Task Force against Racism and Discrimination. Anti-discrimination is a subject that is close to my heart and something that, in England, we have been keen to address with The FA-led Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan involving the whole domestic game.
“I am very keen to understand in greater detail the role of the Task Force and its responsibilities, especially in tackling all forms of discrimination such as homophobia and wider disability issues. I am keen to further my commitment to football in the months and years to come, and hope to provide a strong link from this country to FIFA’s international focus.”
Bernstein is unable to attend Monday’s initial gathering but The FA will be represented and the Chairman will be updated prior to his attendance at the subsequent taskforce meetings.
As well as Mr Bernstein, the Task Force will include representatives from across the football community as well as a broad panel of experts in the fight against racism and discrimination. The group has been tasked with identifying tougher disciplinary sanctions on the one hand, and initiatives in the area of education and prevention on the other, in order to eradicate this scourge from the beautiful game.
The FA led-action plan, following the Chairman’s private meetings with players and administrators from across the game, was presented to Government at the end of last year. The FA is committed, along with all its stakeholders, to promoting equality and diversity and to the eradication of all forms of discrimination.
Blatter, who will lead the FIFA Congress on 30-31 May, said: “We have to work on two fronts. First on education, and for that FIFA has a fantastic network through its 209 member associations. But besides that, we also need to have stronger sanctions.
“We have seen that fines achieve little, but point deductions and exclusion from competitions could be more effective measures. We will now have a task force with experts in this area who I am sure will help us achieve our objective of kicking discrimination and racism out of football.”