Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 11 News List

World Cup matches can be abandoned over crowd discrimination, FIFA says

Reuters, ZURICH, Switzerland

FIFA has reiterated that referees would have the power to abandon matches at the World Cup in cases of persistent discrimination in the crowd.

Russia has pledged to crack down on racism, as the nation faces increased scrutiny before and during the tournament, which it is to host from Thursday to July 15 in 11 cities.

However, there is still concern over the situation, and England defender Danny Rose on Wednesday said that he has told his family not to attend, because he feared they might be racially abused.

FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura said the global soccer body takes discrimination very seriously.

“Besides educational measures ... we have systems in place to react to and sanction discriminatory acts, as well as measures to ensure a discrimination-free environment at the FIFA World Cup,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

FIFA said that, for the first time in the tournament’s 88-year history, there would be a dedicated anti-discrimination monitoring system at each match.

A team of three observers from the anti-discrimination FARE network would watch the behavior of fans from both teams and neutrals.

“Those observers understand the language and are trained on the regional specificities of the respective fan cultures,” the statement said.

Referees could also intervene under the so-called three-step procedure, FIFA added.

The referees would have the authority to first stop the game and request a public announcement asking for the discriminatory behavior to cease.

They can then suspend the match if it continues and ultimately abandon it.

The monitoring system has been “very effective” in the World Cup qualifiers, especially in identifying homophobic behavior, FARE executive director Piara Power said.

A number of teams, mainly from Latin America, were fined or had their stadiums closed as a result of their reports.

“If issues arise, the observer system allows us to identify them early and have action taken during a match,” he said.

Everyone who is part of the match organization, including staff, volunteers, teams, stewards and security personnel, have been trained to take action if necessary, FIFA head of sustainability and diversity Federico Addiechi said.

This story has been viewed 1088 times.

Comments will be moderated. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned.

TOP top