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FIFA statement on racist incidents; matches should be abandoned

FIFA Council Meeting - Part II

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - OCTOBER 14: FIFA President Gianni Infantino poses for a photo after part II of the FIFA Council Meeting 2016 at the FIFA headquarters on October 14, 2016 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

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Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, has issued a statement after a growing number of racist incidents have blighted the beautiful game.

With a host of incidents in recent weeks, the head of world soccer’s governing body has reiterated that referees can “go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents” by following FIFA’s three-step procedure during racist incidents.

What is the three-step procedure? Here’s a reminder:

  • Step 1: Referees have the authority to first stop the match and request a public announcement to insist that the discriminatory behaviour cease.
  • Step 2: The officials can then suspend the match until the behaviour stops following another warning announcement.
  • Step 3: Finally, if the behaviour still persists, the referee will decide to abandon the match.

After England’s players were subjected to racist abuse in Montenegro, Juventus’ Moise Kean and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly were also racially abused, while fans of Chelsea were shown abusing Mohamed Salah in a video.

And those are just a few of the more high-profile incidents highlighted.

Below is the statement from Infantino in full, as FIFA and other governing bodies across the soccer world have to come down harder on those found guilty of racist abuse. Stadium bans and small fines aren’t working and this statement from Infantino admits to that.

In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football. This is really not acceptable. Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.

FIFA stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground. Racism needs to end. Full stop.

We introduced the so-called “three-step procedure” at our tournaments: a mechanism that allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents.

FIFA urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt the same procedure, as well as a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism in football, and to apply harsh sanctions for any such kind of behaviour.

We will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against racism and we guarantee to all our member associations that they have our full support in taking up this challenge. We will not hesitate to do everything in our power to eradicate racism, and any other form of discrimination, from football, at any level and anywhere in the world.

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