2017 FIFA Confed. Cup: FIFA orders referees to end matches threatened by racial tension

Moscow, Rusia (PANA) - The World Soccer governing body, FIFA, has empowered referees to diffuse racial tensions during matches, saying "At the refs’ discretion, they will now be authorised to abandon a match should they feel the fans are participating in racist behavior, regardless of whether it is directed at players or not."

In a statement, issued on Friday, on the eve of the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, FIFA said the new change in policy is its way of reinforcing the fight against discrimination in football with the introduction of a new anti-discrimination monitoring system for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

It said the system includes the deployment of Anti-Discrimination Match Observers to monitor and report issues of discrimination at games. It will be coordinated by FIFA and implemented in collaboration with the Fare network, an organisation with long experience in the fight against discrimination in football and the deployment of match observers.

FIFA said, however, that referees must consider the ripple effect of halting such a match - whether abandoning a match in the face of rising tensions could have unintended effect of sparking even more unrest among fans.

Russia also hosts the World Cup next year and is working to clean up its image as a country mired not only in racism but in intolerance of the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer).

Recently, a Carnival parade in Sochi produced photos of many overtly racist acts like blackface and the use of bananas as props to marginalise Africans.

Further, Russia has stood out as the country with perhaps the worst instances of hooliganism at soccer matches, a distinction that no doubt also led to the new FIFA policy.
-0- PANA VAO/MA 17June2017

17 june 2017 09:19:55

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