FIFA, world football’s governing body, has significantly updated its disciplinary code in order to combat racism and discrimination in the sport.
FIFA has decided that teams whose supporters are guilty of racist behaviour during games will automatically forfeit the match if the referee decides to abandon it.
According to the new changes, a match can be cancelled and declared as a loss only after the referee has applied the three-step procedure which includes the speaker making a warning to the fans and the referee making a temporary break. Effective on Monday, this rule will apply to all FIFA competitions, both international and national.
A statement released by the governing body this week read: “Topics like racism and discrimination have been updated, putting FIFA at the forefront of the fight against this appalling attack on the fundamental human rights of individuals.”
The updated FIFA code expands the scope of what is considered racial behaviour to anything related to “race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or any other status or any other reason.”
Stricter punishments against racism and other discriminatory behaviour was a key part of FIFA’s updated disciplinary code on Friday.
FIFA introduces innovative approach with launch of new Disciplinary Code: https://t.co/Eh0ciDrXis
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) July 11, 2019
The length of a ban for a player involved in directing racist behaviour has been doubled from five to ten games. The victims will also be invited to disciplinary proceeds judged by a panel from FIFA, where they will make their statements.
“FIFA will not let down victims of racist abuse,” said the statement. “For a first offence, playing a match with a limited number of spectators and a fine of at least 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,000) shall be imposed on the association or club concerned,” FIFA said.
The changes come as a result of several high profile incidents last season in domestic and international football.
Serie A giants Inter Milan had to play two home games behind closed doors after their fans racially insulted Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. The Senegalese centre-back, who received a red card for showing dissent, was banned for two matches, sparking heavy criticism.
Montenegro were also ordered by FIFA’s European counterpart UEFA to play a home game in an empty stadium after their supporters directed racial abuse towards England players in a Euro 2020 qualifying match.
The newly-formed code also includes the option of imposing transfer bans on clubs, as FIFA finally recognize the magnitude of racism and discrimination present in football throughout the world.