LONDON: European football has adopted unanimously the proposal to ramp up its disciplinary weapons in the fight against racism writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The 53 members of federation UEFA voted to bring the organisation’s sanctions system and conscience into line with players and officials exasperated for years by its blind eye to the issue.
Crowds 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. Racist chanting during a match will incur first a warning, then a suspension of the game and then its abandonment as a last resort.
Players or officials guilty of racist behaviour would incur a minimum 10-match ban.
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.
Europa League promotion
On other issues general secretary Gianni Infantino confirmed the approval of the executive committee for the promotion into the Champions League, from 2015, of the winners of the Europa League.
The elections process was simplified by the withdrawal of Portugal’s Fernando Gomes from the executive committee candidacies meant there was no need for a ballot for any of the positions available.
Hence re-elected to the executive committee by acclamation were Giancarlo Abete (Italy), Allan Hansen (Denmark), Frantisek Laurinc (Slovakia), Marios Lefkaritis (Cyprus), Avraham Luzon (Israel) and Michael Van Praag (Holland).
Newly-elected members, also by acclamation, were England’s David Gill – the departing chief executive of Manchester United – and the German federation president Wolfgang Niersbach.
Gill, effectively, succeeds to the exco role vacated by the retirement of Geoff Thompson who was acclaimed an honorary member of UEFA in recognition of his services to football.
Re-elected as UEFA delegates to the FIFA executive for further four-year terms were Michel D’Hooghe (Belgium), Senes Erzik (Turkey), Vitaly Mutko (Russia) and Lefkaritis.