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UEFA and its member national associations have adopted a resolution emphasising European football's determination to eliminate racism from football.
The resolution, entitled European football united against racism, was adopted at the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress in London on Friday and pledges that UEFA and the associations will step up their efforts to eradicate racism from football. It calls on players and coaches to make a full contribution to the campaign, and urges referees to stop or even abandon matches in the case of racist incidents. As part of a zero tolerance stance towards racism, strict sanctions are demanded in the resolution against officials, players and supporters guilty of racist behaviour.
This is the latest move in football's fight against racism. In March, the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC), comprising Europe's national associations (UEFA), clubs (ECA), leagues (EPFL) and players (FIFPro Division Europe), unanimously adopted a joint position paper aimed at combating racism and discrimination in the game.
The Congress resolution was ratified by the UEFA Executive Committee at its meeting in London this week. UEFA's disciplinary regulations for the 2013/14 season, also given the green light by the Executive Committee this week, have been revised to include tougher sanctions against racism.
"It is clear that UEFA's member associations and other stakeholders in the football family are unanimous that we need to do more to tackle this problem," said UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino.
"We strongly believe that our actions will speak louder than words, and we count on UEFA's member associations not only to support this resolution, but to implement it. This is a real issue … and I think I speak for every one of us when I say that it's time to put an end to racism once and for all.
The resolution adopted at the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress:
• The UEFA Statutes provide that a key objective is to promote football throughout Europe in a spirit of peace, understanding, fair play and without discrimination of any kind.
• Similarly, UEFA's 11 key values contain a pledge that UEFA will adopt a zero-tolerance approach towards racism.
• These same 11 values declare that football must set an example. Football unites people and transcends differences. Respect is therefore a key principle of the game.
• Against this background, European football is united in its firm belief that racism and other forms of discrimination must be kicked out of football, once and for all.
• UEFA and its member associations hereby resolve to re-double their efforts to eradicate racism from football. Stricter sanctions must be imposed for any form of racist behaviour affecting the game.
• Referees should stop, suspend or even abandon a match if racist incidents occur. Following UEFA's three-step guidelines, a match will first be stopped and a public warning given. Second, the match will be suspended for a period of time. Third, and after coordination with security officers, the match will be abandoned if racist behaviour has not ceased. In such a case the responsible team forfeits the tie.
• Any player or team official found guilty of racist conduct must be suspended for at least ten matches (or a corresponding period of time for club representatives).
• If supporters of a club or national team engage in racist behaviour this must be sanctioned (for a first offence) with a partial stadium closure concerning the section where the racist incident occurred. For a second offence, this must be sanctioned with a full stadium closure, as well as a financial penalty. In addition, supporters found guilty of racist behaviour should be banned from attending matches in future by the state authorities.
• Clubs and national associations are required to run awareness programmes to tackle racism. Furthermore, disciplinary sanctions for any racist behaviour should be accompanied by such awareness programmes, which anti-racism organisations could helpfully assist with. Education will help to address the problem, both in football and in wider society.
• Players and coaches must also be leaders in the fight against racism. Speak out against it – it's part of your duty to football.
• UEFA is fully committed to these strong sanctioning and awareness policies and all national associations support the implementation of similar policies, having regard to their own domestic circumstances. Football is about leadership, both on and off the field. European football is united against racism. Let's put a stop to racism. Now.
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