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Keshi risks five match ban over racism case

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Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, may be handed a five-match ban if found guilty of a racism allegation brought against him by the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) on behalf of its coach, Tom Saintfiet.

The matches will however only include those organized by the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA).

This is because FIFA had resolved at the end of its Congress held in Port Louis, Mauritius, that tougher sanctions would be adopted in cases of racism internationally.

It all started when Keshi told a UK-based African TV show that he thinks “the coach of Malawi is crazy” after Saintfiet demanded that the 2014 World Cup qualifier match between the two countries be moved from the city of Calabar for security reasons.

Keshi also added thus: “If he wants to talk to FIFA, he should go back to Belgium. He is not an African person, he is a white dude, and he should go back to Belgium.”

However, FIFA has already confirmed that it has received an official complaint from FAM on the issue but neither Keshi nor the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) have reacted to the complaint made by Saintfiet and FAM.

FAM wants FIFA to take prompt actions on the issue, tagging it as “racist” remarks aimed at the Belgian coach, Sainfiet.

It is noteworthy to recall that the Congress voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, with 204 votes for and just one against.

A resolution put together by a FIFA task force against racism reads thus:

“For a first infraction or a minor infraction, a warning, fine and/or ordering to play games behind closed doors should be sufficient punishment,” read

“For a repeat offence or a serious infraction, the deduction of points, exclusion from a competition or relegation are the recommended punishments.

“Any person (player, official, referee etc) committing an infraction should be suspended for at least five matches, including being banned from entering a stadium”, added the resolution.

The World Cup qualifier in Calabar is expected to be a decider; hence, Malawi needs to win if they have to qualify while Nigeria only needs just a draw to progress to the final round of play-offs to qualify for the big tournament in Brazil in 2014.

The Herald NG is a leading newspaper in Nigeria at the forefront of the digital revolution.

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