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Empowering referees to act against racism: UEFA’s three-step procedure

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Learn more about UEFA's three-step procedure to help match officials deal with racist incidents in stadiums.

UEFA has a three-step procedure to help referees deal with serious incidents of racism
UEFA has a three-step procedure to help referees deal with serious incidents of racism ©UEFA.com

UEFA approved official guidelines to help match officials handle incidents of racism inside stadiums at a 2009 Executive Committee meeting in Lithuania.

As part of a three-step procedure, the guidelines grant referees the power to initially halt play and, if the racist behaviour continues, abandon the match.

Step one

If the referee becomes aware of racist behaviour, or is informed of it by the fourth official, he will stop the game. He will then request an announcement to be made over the public address system asking spectators to immediately stop any racist behaviour.

Step two

If the racist behaviour does not cease after the game has restarted, the referee will suspend the match for a reasonable period of time, for example, five to ten minutes, and request teams to go to the dressing rooms. A further announcement is made over the public address system.

Step three

As a final resort, if the racist behaviour continues after a second restart, the referee can definitively abandon the match.

The UEFA delegate responsible for the match will assist the referee, through the fourth official, in determining whether the racist behaviour has ceased. Any decision to abandon the match will only be taken after all other possible measures have been implemented and the impact of abandoning the match on the security of the players and public has been assessed.

After the match, the case is referred to UEFA's disciplinary authorities.