KEIR RADNEDGE in LONDON: UEFA is to scrap all statutes of limitations within its disciplinary system so as to pursue even the oldest cases of matchfixing.
This was one of a range of disciplinary measures approved by the executive committee of the European federation ahead of its annual congress in London tomorrow.
Other measures included ratifying a ramping-up of anti-racism sanctions and extending European football’s fight against doping.
The removal of all limitations in the integrity arena takes effect from now and means no hiding place for proven fixers.
Gianni Infantino, UEFA’s general secretary, said: “This means that if it comes out that a match was fixed, say, 15 years ago then the disciplinary body can deal with the matter.”
All new disciplinary regulations, including those dealing with racist behaviour, will come into effect on June 1 and thus include next month’s European under-21 finals in Israel.
UEFA’s executive reviewed the changes earlier this year.
Infantino said: “We will now have tougher sanctions to fight against racist behaviour. This is absolutely in line with UEFA’s zero tolerance policy to act and not talk and do something concrete and that’s why the executive committee took a strong stance on this.”
Fans guilty of racist chanting will attract, in the first instance, a partial closure of a stadium; a second offence will result in a full stadium closure plus a E50,000 fine.
Players or officials guilty of racist behaviour would incur a minimum 10-match ban.
Infantino added: “We feel the word ‘respect’ has to have a concrete meaning and so sanctions for insulting or assaulting match officials have also been strengthened.”
A minimum ban for insulting a referee has been increased from two to three matches with a minimum tariff for an assault being lifted from 10 to 15 matches.
In addition UEFA’s disciplinary bodies have been granted wider authority to punish member associations which, it feels, have not been rigorous enough to punishing matchfixing, corruption in general and doping.
UEFA is launching a study into steroid use by players in its competitions over the past five years in preparation for the launch of steroid-biological passport programme.
It will also carry out blood tests from next season in all of its competitions. Until now blood tests had been implemented only in the finals of the European Championship in 2010 and 2012.
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