An overwhelming majority of FIFA delegates voted in favour of stricter punishments in cases of racism at a congress in Mauritius on Friday. Football’s image has been tarnished by several high-profile incidences of racism in the recent past.
FIFA adopted a resolution that will lead to tougher sanctions in cases of racism, including points deductions and even relegation for repeat offenders, at its annual congress in Mauritius on Friday.
The Congress voted overwhelmingly in favour of the resolution, with 204 votes for and just one against.
"For a first infraction or a minor infraction, a warning, fine and/or ordering to play games behind closed doors should be sufficient punishment," read a text put together by a FIFA task force against racism.
"For a repeat offence or a serious infraction, the deduction of points, exclusion from a competition or relegation are the recommended punishments," added the resolution.
"Any person (player, official, referee etc...) committing an infraction should be suspended for at least five matches, including being banned from entering a stadium."
The mandatory five-game suspension previously applied just to FIFA internationals.
The stricter punishments for persons found guilty of racist abuse are in line with the recommendations of an anti-racism task force set up after recent problems in Italy.
Football's image has been tainted by several high-profile incidences of racism in the recent past, from Liverpool striker Luis Suarez's abuse of Manchester United's Patrice Evra in October 2011 to AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng's decision to walk off the field following abuse from the stands during a friendly game in January this year.
Making his presidential address to delegates at the congress, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said, "We have been through a difficult time, it has been a test for the world of football and for those who live in it."
"There have been despicable events this year that have cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society," he said.
"I am speaking of the politics of hate - racism, ignorance, discrimination, intolerance, small-minded prejudice. That uncivilised, immoral and self-destructive force that we all detest."
But FIFA has "weathered the storm," he added. "We have emerged from the troubled waters stronger and now we can look forward to the future.”
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-05-31