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SBD Global/May 8, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

FIFA Acts On The Issue Of Racism, Proposes Extra Officials In Stadiums

FIFA "has proposed the introduction of extra officials in stadiums to watch out for incidents of racism, plus a two-tier system of sanctions" for teams whose followers indulge in discriminatory behavior, according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. A FIFA statement said the new officials "would identify potential acts of discrimination with the aim of easing the pressure on referees." They would also "help gather evidence for disciplinary committees." The inaugural meeting of FIFA's anti-racism task force also proposed that "first or minor offences be punished with lighter sanctions such as playing a match behind closed doors, a warning or a fine." Serious incidents and re-offenders "would be hit with points deductions, expulsion from a competition or relegation." English referee Howard Webb, one of the panel members, said that "match officials could not always be aware of what was happening off the field." Webb said, "We are very much in the front line, we are the first port of call for the players. You are not always aware of what's happening in the stands." Webb said the new role should be performed by someone "who has a good understanding of what constitutes a discriminatory act within the stadium, and can therefore guide the match official" (REUTERS, 5/6).

CONCRETE PLAN: INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Andrew Warshaw reported FIFA member countries and their clubs "were urged by the new body to provide a 'concrete action plan' and implement sanctions 'in a harmonised way' though that may be hard to impose given the different cultures and standards of education in both the industrialised and developing nations." All the proposals "were included in a draft resolution that will be presented in Mauritius at the end of the month" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/7).
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