UEFA approves stricter sanctions against racism

The UEFA Executive Committee in London has approved increased sanctions to combat racist conduct, given more power to those fighting match-fixing and upped anti-doping initiatives.

UEFA approves stricter sanctions against racism
UEFA approves stricter sanctions against racism ©UEFA.com

The UEFA Executive Committee has approved stricter sanctions against racist conduct in the latest edition of the UEFA Disciplinary Regulations, which will come into force on 1 June 2013. The committee took the decision at its meeting in London on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress on Friday.

Fighting racism
The new UEFA Disciplinary Regulations are notable in that they include tougher sanctions to efficiently fight racist behaviour at football matches, in line with UEFA's zero-tolerance policy, which was also underlined by a resolution adopted by the Professional Football Strategy Council (PFSC) on 27 March 2013 in Sofia. A separate resolution to fight racism will be put forward to the XXXVII Ordinary UEFA Congress tomorrow.

The new disciplinary regulations include the following sanctions in the event of discriminatory behaviour:

  • By spectators: a partial stadium closure for the first offence and a full stadium closure for the second such offence coupled with a €50,000 fine; and
  • By players or officials: a minimum ten-match ban.

Protecting the game
The minimum ban for insulting match officials has been increased from two to three matches, and assault on match officials will now result in a minimum 15-match ban (previously ten-match ban).

Furthermore, additional power has been granted to the UEFA disciplinary bodies, allowing them to take action should a UEFA member association fail to punish, or punish in an inappropriate manner, offences harming the essence of football, and notably offences of match-fixing, corruption and doping.

At the same time, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to remove any period of limitation for offences of corruption/bribery and match-fixing, therefore allowing disciplinary action to be taken, irrespective of when such an infringement to the rules occurred.

Club competition finals
Other decisions taken at the meeting include the selection of the venues for the 2015 UEFA club competition finals. The Olympiastadion in Berlin will host the UEFA Champions League showpiece, while the National Stadium Warsaw will stage the UEFA Europa League final.

Anti-doping initiatives
The UEFA Executive Committee also approved new anti-doping initiatives, including the launch of a research study in order to retrospectively measure the steroid profiles of the nearly 900 players who have participated in UEFA competitions since 2008. The aim of this study will be to identify the potential prevalence of steroid use across European football by using data from previous doping controls. The study will be collective and anonymous and its findings would thus not result in any player incurring an anti-doping rule violation.

Based on the study's results, a steroids biological profiling passport programme may be considered for future implementation within the UEFA anti-doping programme. Furthermore, the UEFA Executive Committee decided to introduce some blood tests in UEFA competitions as of the 2013/14 season, in addition to the standard urine tests. Until now, blood tests were only conducted at the final tournament of the UEFA European Championship.

Competition regulations
Finally, approval was given for the following competition regulations: 2013/14 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, 2013/14 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, 2013/14 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, and 2013/14 UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship.

The next UEFA Executive Committee meeting is scheduled to take place in Dubrovnik, Croatia on 19/20 September 2013.