FIFA announces new disciplinary code with clearer regulations on discrimination

New FIFA disciplinary regulations prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation, increasing the penalties for individuals involved in discriminatory abuse, and for the first time introducing a victim impact element, will come into force this month.

In a new step, borrowing practice from criminal trials, the FIFA Disciplinary Committee will permit victims of abuse to make an impact statement, allowing them to take on board the experiences of victims, including players and supporters who are the targets of abuse.

The new elements of FIFA's regulations in relation to discrimination include:

  • A minimum sanction for discrimination by supporters – a partial stadium closure and a fine
  • Sanctions available now include ‘the implementation of a prevention plan’ opening up the opportunity for educational directives to be issued alongside punitive sanctions
  • Clear prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of gender and sexual orientation, allowing action against homophobic abuse that has became commonplace in Latin America
  • Clarification that matches which are abandoned by the referee after having applied the three-step procedure, will automatically be forfeited
  • An increase in the penalty for individuals involved in football who are responsible for discriminatory abuse from 5 to 10 matches

Piara Powar, the Executive Director of the Fare network said: “The changes to the disciplinary regulations are significant and we hope will allow FIFA to be more categorical in the way that they take action against discrimination of all kinds.

“We welcome the clear reference to homophobia. FIFA has sanctioned acts of homophobia quite extensively in Latin America in particular, but the previous rules were not fit for purpose and were challenged at CAS in several cases.

"Allowing an impact statement for victims of abuse is a very new and welcome step, it allows FIFA to hear directly from victims. In the past some players have felt let down by the action taken, when facing racial abuse from crowds or other players, for example. This regulation clearly recognises their experience and offers them the opportunity to have a direct impact on disciplinary procedures.”

“Our expectation is that national Football Associations will mirror the new procedures and implement them at national level.”

The new code will come into force on 15th July 2019.

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