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SportsFIFA's five-pillar strategy to combat racism


FIFA’s five-pillar strategy to combat racism


FIFA has put forward a five-pillar plan aimed at addressing racist abuse in football.

The global governing body stated that it had engaged in an extensive consultation process with current and former players who are committed to instigating change.

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One of the plan’s key suggestions involves implementing a standard crossed-hands gesture for players to signal racist incidents during matches.

This ‘Global Stand Against Racism’ proposal is set to be presented to FIFA’s 211 members at the annual congress in Bangkok on Thursday.

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The first pillar of the proposal intends to make racism a specific offence which is included in all member associations’ disciplinary codes and has its own “specific and severe sanctions, including match forfeits”.

Fifa said it will “pause, suspend and abandon games in cases of racism”.

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The crossed-hands gesture will be used by referees to signal an in-game procedure in which matches are paused twice and warnings are given, with the game to then be abandoned in the event of further racism.

In pillar three – ‘criminal charges’ – Fifa called for racism to be recognised as a criminal offence in every country, and said it would push for severe sanctions in the countries where it is already an offence.

Fifa also said it would promote education initiatives with schools and governments to “provide a future free of racism”, while an anti-racism panel made up of former players will be set up to review the progress of the proposal.

Earlier this year, Brazil and Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr said he felt “less and less like playing football because he had suffered repeated racist abuse.

Last year, a Fifa report found almost 20,000 abusive social media posts were aimed at players, coaches and officials during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

And in 2021, England manager Gareth Southgate called the racist abuse aimed at Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka after the Euro 2020 final “unforgivable”.
Why have Wolves called for a vote on VAR?

Wolves said VAR was introduced “in good faith” but has led to “numerous unintended negative consequences that are damaging the relationship between fans and football”.

The club is initiating discussions to evaluate the true sentiment towards VAR, rather than simply accepting the status quo during the summer break.

In the first half of the season, decisions against Manchester United, Luton, Sheffield United, Newcastle, and Fulham proved costly in terms of points.

A split decision by the Key Match Incident (KMI) panel occurred regarding Joao Gomes’ handball in the 1-1 draw against Luton, while it unanimously agreed that Sheffield United’s last-minute penalty winner should not have been awarded.

Additionally, Newcastle’s penalty should have been overturned, and during the November match against Fulham, there were disputes over two penalties awarded to the visitors and whether Carlos Vinicius should have been sent off. Despite these concerns, the panel concluded that the VAR decisions were correct.

At the time, O’Neil suggested that the club might need to escalate its concerns about VAR decisions.

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