KEIR RADNEDGE in MANCHESTER: UEFA, trying to make up lost ground in the anti-racism effort, wants a minimum 10-game suspension for any player of official found guilty of an offence.
Gianni Infantino, the European federation’s general secretary, outlined this today among new disciplinary measures being proposed to Congress in London in May.
Infantino was speaking at the Soccerex European Forum at Manchester Central.
A 10-game ban would be two games more than Liverpool’s Luis Suarez received from the Football Association after his clash with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra and October 2011 and six games more than Chelsea captain John Terry following the Anton Ferdinand incident that same month.
This would also be double the current ban set out in UEFA regulations though Infantino conceded he knew of no player who had ever been punished that severely.
In addition, UEFA would no longer fine clubs for racist behaviour by players, officials or fans but. more drastically, move first to a partial stadium closure and then to a full stadium closure for a second offence.
With these proposals UEFA is seeking to make up for ‘lost years’ in which it was perceived to rate the infringement of commercial regulations as more important than issues of personal discrimination.
Infantino said: “Racism is still a scourge and one we have to defeat and kick out of the game. The situation has improved generally inEuropein many countries but it is still widespread unfortunately.
“Now we have taken this really very seriously on board and we agreed on a joint resolution. We are amending our disciplinary rules and will present to our congress a resolution to ask national associations to implement the same [regulations].”
Infantino described UEFA’s plan as two-pronged. One facet concerned an ongoing educational campaign and a second the punishments.
He said: “The sanctions must have a deterrent effect and we are proposing that, if a player or official is convicted he has to be suspended for 10 matches at least.
“If supporters of a club – or clubs – are guilty of racial abuse the first sanctions will not be a fine any more but a partial closure of the stadium – the part of the stadium where the racist abuse has taken place. A second offence will see the full closure of the stadium and a fine of a minimum 50,000 euro.”
In addition, said Infantino, referees would be encouraged into rigorous enforcement of a “three-step process” to respond to racist abuse from fans. Firstly the crowd would be warned, secondly the game would be suspended and thirdly it could be abandoned.
Infantino concluded: “This is clear, this is harsh, this will be known to everyone and this is what we want to implement.”
The racist abuse issue had gained momentum after the incident inItalyin January when Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and his team-mates abandoned a friendly against Pro Patria because of racist abuse from a group of fans in Busto Arizio.
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