May 23, 2013
In a measure to reduce racism in football, UEFA will now enforce a 10-game ban for any player or referee guilty of racially abusing another.
From Sky Sports:
UEFA has ratified a proposal to impose a 10-match European ban for players and officials found guilty of racism.
Racism by fans will also now be punished by partial stadium closure for a first offence, with a full stadium closure for a second offence.
The new sanctions were agreed by UEFA's executive committee meeting in London but moves to oblige national associations to follow suit have been watered down.
In other words, other football associations—such as the English FA, which recently announced its own five-game ban for racism—are being asked to comply with the new ban but retain the right to levy their own bans and fines.
But if a player is found guilty of racism in the Champions League or Europa League, the ban for those competitions will be 10 games.
UEFA also increased the ban for insulting officials from two games to three and assaulting them from 10 games to 15.
As well, according to the Associated Press (via Fox News), a second instance of racism by fans will include a $65,000 fine along with a full stadium closure.
This season has seen a number of disturbing occurrences of racism. Kevin-Prince Boateng and his AC Milan teammates walked off the pitch in a friendly against Pro Patria due to racism being rained down on them from the stands.
In January, American international and AZ Alkmaar striker Jozy Altidore was the victim of monkey chants from fans of Den Bosch. And Mario Balotelli has sadly been a favorite target of Italian fans, as he has been racially abused in games against Inter Milan, Juventus and AS Roma.
All three clubs received fines in those incidents.
These are positive steps taken by UEFA and hopefully will discourage fans or players from turning to racial abuse. There is simply no place for it in football.
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