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Feb 9, 2013

Sepp Blatter downplays match-fixing

GABORONE, Botswana -- FIFA President Sepp Blatter believes match-fixing affects only a small percentage of soccer games across the world and racism is a bigger problem for the sport.

"Football is so big, we will overcome," Blatter said Saturday. "It is a small percentage. Football will not die."

On Monday, the European Union police agency reported nearly 700 recent games have or may have been fixed in the last 18 months. Blatter, who is on a four-country tour of Africa ahead of Sunday's African Cup of Nations final, insisted more than a million matches a year were clean.

He said racism was a bigger problem for the sport than fixing and FIFA was examining ways of introducing more serious punishments for teams if their fans or players were guilty of racism.

"We can also explore deducting points," Blatter said. "If it is a knockout competition, it will mean that we must kick out the team."

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