UEFA and the Football Against Racism in Europe network are preparing a guide for clubs on how to combat racism, as they continue to use the UEFA Champions League and other UEFA competitions to transmit the message that racist conduct will not be tolerated on or off the pitch.
The guide is likely to include issues such as racial abuse, institutional exclusion, and clubs' work with minority and migrant communities. At a recent keynote conference in Barcelona, UEFA was urged to take a leading role in the anti-racism campaign and UEFA Chief Executive Lars-Christer Olsson said that racism has to be acknowledged as a serious problem within football and society.
As UEFA club competitions resume after the winter break, UEFA and a number of teams have met for talks under the common banner of the European Club Forum, set up in 2002 as a platform for mutual debate. It was agreed that the format of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup will continue to evolve as the organisation attempts to foresee trends. "UEFA's club competitions have an impact in various areas, including domestic football, so we think it is wise to plan and think ahead," said UEFA professional football director Giorgio Marchetti.
The distribution of competition revenue and payments for the release of national-team players were also on the agenda, while the UEFA Champions League group-stage attendances were analysed. In total, 3,568,172 spectators watched the 96 games, meaning that on average, stadiums were three-quarters full. The match between LOSC Lille Métropole and SL Benfica at the Stade de France drew the biggest crowd – 76,187.
UEFA is testing a referee communication system in the UEFA Champions League this week, having also carried out tests in last week’s UEFA Cup Round of 32 first-leg matches. The Matchday 7 games in question are FC Bayern München-AC Milan (refereed by Belgium's Frank de Bleeckere); PSV Eindhoven–Olympique Lyonnais (Greece's Kyros Vassaras); and AFC Ajax–FC Internazionale Milano (Germany's Wolfgang Stark).
"The decision to conduct a full battery of tests comes following the proposal of the UEFA Referees Committee, which also stressed the importance of the tests being carried out at the highest level of the game in order to test the system in a real big-match atmosphere," said UEFA.
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