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UEFA official welcomes region’s proactive approach to racism

UEFA official welcomes region’s proactive approach to racism

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Whilst St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Caribbean region as a whole do not have to grapple with the issue of racism, one UEFA official has welcomed the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and the Confederation of North Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)’s proactive stance on the issue.{{more}}

Veron Mosengo-Omba UEFA legal counsel, who paid a visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines recently, noted that it is always a good thing to be on your guard and plan in case of such eventualities.

Mosengo-Omba was responding to a recent protocol established by CONCACAF.

The protocol, which came into effect earlier this year, outlines a three-stage method for dealing with racist and or any other form of discriminatory behaviour in football stadiums, such as racist chants, insults, screams and banners.

According to the protocol, the first phase applies when a referee becomes aware of serious racist and/or discriminatory behaviour; then he or she shall first stop the game and order a stadium announcement urging the behaviour to cease.

Meanwhile, the second phase entails that if the behaviour continues, the referee shall suspend the game for five to ten minutes and send the teams to the dressing room, while another stadium announcement is made.

Finally, and if the behaviour continues, the third phase shall consist, as a very last resort, in the referee declaring the match abandoned.

Mosengo-Omba noted that UEFA’s approach is different, as they are more exposed to such incidents.

Referring to UEFA’s procedures, he stated that the member association or club responsible is punished with a minimum of a partial stadium closure, with the second offence being punished with one match played behind closed doors, along with a fine of 50,000 Euros.

UEFA’s protocol dictates that any subsequent offence is punishable by having more than one match behind closed doors, a stadium closure, the forfeiting of a match, the deduction of points or disqualification from the competition.

Mosengo-Omba said that in addition, each case may jolt the disciplinary body to impose further disciplinary measures and directives.

The UEFA official recalled one of his organisation’s most recent ruling which imposed a 50 000 Euros fine on Russian club CSKA Moscow and a closed-door punishment for racist chants by their fans who also displayed racist symbols at a Champions League game in December.

CONCACAF will provide training to integrity officers, match commissioners and referees to assist in monitoring for incidents during high-risk games. However, referees will ultimately be responsible for implementing the approved protocol during each game played throughout the Confederation’s tournaments.

Regardless of whether a game is declared as suspended or abandoned, CONCACAF’s Disciplinary Committee will still establish whether disciplinary measures should be imposed to sanction the undesirable incidents.

Mosengo-Omba is a qualified lawyer from the University of Fribourg. Between 1996 and 1998, he worked as a scientist collaborator at the International Centre for Sports Studies of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. In 1999 he became Head of the Disciplinary Department of FIFA in Zurich, Switzerland, where he drafted a FIFA Disciplinary Code and participated in several conferences in relation to disciplinary issues in football. Since 2005, he has been working as a legal counsel at the UEFA Disciplinary Service. (RT)

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