FIFA is to announce a new system of match observers to monitor incidents of racism and discrimination at World Cup qualifiers in the build up to the 2018 tournament in Russia. Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, who suffered racist abuse while playing against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League, will be present at the launch at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday. The observers will be trained to spot incidents of discrimination and report them to FIFA, which can then impose disciplinary sanctions on the countries involved. FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said “a lot of work needs to be done” to combat incidents. Nice one FIFA!
Eden Hazard has been voted the 2015 Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association. The Chelsea midfielder topped the poll of more than 300 journalists with 53% of the vote, comfortably ahead of the Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, with his Chelsea team-mate and captain John Terry third. The 24-year-old Belgium playmaker has scored 20 goals in all competitions so far this season and created many more as José Mourinho’s side secured a first Premier League title since 2009-10. Hazard, who also won the Professional Footballers Association’s player of the year award last month, will be honoured with the FWA accolade, which has been running since 1948, at a gala dinner in London on 21 May. The FWA chairman Andy Dunn, of the Sunday Mirror, said: “The list of truly world class players on the Football Writers’ Association roll of honour is a long one and Eden Hazard is a worthy addition. A creator, a goalscorer and the hardest of workers, Hazard has been a constant source of threat for the Barclays Premier League champions. “But it is not just his trickery, his pace, his artistry and his marksmanship that make Hazard such an invaluable component of José Mourinho’s Chelsea squad, it is his durability. Hazard has started all 36 Premier League matches and, considering the particularly close attention he receives from opponents, that is a feat in itself.” As well as Hazard and Terry, the Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fàbregas, their defender Branislav Ivanovic and Thibaut Courtois also featured in the FWA’s top 10. The other players to receive votes were Alexis Sánchez of Arsenal, the Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, the Manchester City forward Sergio Agüero and Leicester City’s Esteban Cambiasso.