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SBD Global/April 11, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

UEFA Proposes Minimum 10-Game Ban For Racist Behavior For Players, Officials

UEFA hopes penalties such as a 10-match ban will curb racism in the sport.
UEFA has "signalled a clampdown on racism" by proposing a minimum 10-match ban for any player found guilty of the offense, according to Jamie Jackson of the London GUARDIAN. The measure was announced by UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino and will be introduced next season in all European competitions. Infantino also said that "there would be partial closure of stadiums for a first incident of racist abuse by fans and a full closure for a second offence plus far tougher financial penalties." The measures will apply to UEFA club competitions, the Champions and Europa League, and the European Championship. However, Infantino said that UEFA "will urge member associations to follow the recommendations in domestic football" (GUARDIAN, 4/10). The PA's Martyn Ziegler reported Infantino said, "We have to have sanctions and they must have a deterrent effect and what we are proposing is if a player or official is convicted of racism they should receive a 10-match suspension at least. If supporters at a club are found guilty of racist abuse the first sanction will be a partial closure of the part of the stadium from which the racist abuse took place. For a second offense there will be the full closure and a minimum fine of €50,000 ($65,000)" (PA, 4/10).

ZERO TOLERANCE: In London, Oliver Kay reported Infantino admitted that UEFA needed to make sure that, having previously failed to live up to its “zero-tolerance” vow, it was "time to back up words with actions." Infantino said, "It’s nice to talk about zero-tolerance and ‘kicking it out,’ and the situation has improved, but it is still widespread. The action is two-fold. The first part is that we need to consider more the education. There we have to improve and increase" (LONDON TIMES, 4/10).

FAN FARE: REUTERS' Mike Collett reported Infantino said UEFA was "backing referees to abandon matches if fans continued with racist abuse after a first public warning." Infantino: "If there is racist abuse, the referee is empowered to take the players off the pitch and a public announcement will be made to tell the fans to stop the abuse. The players will then return to the field, but if it continues the referee has the authority to abandon the match" (REUTERS, 4/10).

RACISM PENALTIES: Ukrainian side Dynamo Kiev must play its next UEFA competition home game behind closed doors "due to the racist behaviour of their fans" at a Champions League match at home against Paris St. Germain Nov. 21. Kiev has "appealed against the sanction" (REUTERS, 4/10). REUTERS' Tom Pilcher reported Scottish Third Division Rangers CEO Charles Green "has been issued with a notice of complaint for alleged comments of an 'offensive and racist nature.'" Green's comments in The Scottish Sun on Sunday about his Pakistani friend and former Rangers Dir Imran Ahmad broke two SFA rules for ''bringing the game into disrepute by making comments in a media interview of an offensive and racist nature" (REUTERS, 4/10).
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