FIFA has toughened its stance on racism, allowing victims to make statements and confirming games can be forfeited.
FIFA’s previous approach to racism came under heavy scrutiny, with critics accusing the governing body of being too lenient.
It came after Inter, Lazio and Cagliari escaped serious punishments last season, despite their fans racially abusing Kalidou Koulibaly, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Moise Kean.
Now, Reuters reports FIFA has streamlined its disciplinary code, which sees the minimum ban for players who engage in racist behaviour doubled to 10 games.
Furthermore, players can make victim statements and participate in proceedings.
“FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee may permit the victim to make a statement, allowing the latter to participate in the proceedings. FIFA will not let down victims of racist abuse,” the body said in a statement.
Matches will also be forfeited if a team’s supporters are found to be guilty of racist and/or other discriminatory behaviour.
“For a first offence, playing a match with a limited number of spectators and a fine of at least 20,000 Swiss Francs (€18,000) shall be imposed on the association or club concerned,” FIFA added.
“Unless there are exceptional circumstances, if a match is abandoned by the referee because of racist and/or discriminatory conduct, the match shall be declared forfeited.”
However, forfeits can only occur once there has been a public announcement for the discrimination to stop and if a pause in play has already been administered.
In the meantime, FIFA has updated its disciplinary code so that discriminatory behaviour spans ‘race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or any other status or any other reason.’