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May 23, 2013

UEFA ratifies 10-match racism ban

Racist abuse by players or officials will carry a minimum 10-match suspension, the UEFA executive committee has confirmed.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino announced the changes in April and they will be included in next season's disciplinary regulations. UEFA is only able to enforce measures in its own competitions but will ask its 53 members to follow its lead at the congress on Friday.

"An association should adopt the same or similar measures,'' Infantino said. ''UEFA has always acted in a way to try to convince people rather than impose. I don't think you measure the way of fighting against racism in one simple measure and sanction."

Racism in football has come to the fore this season following a number of unsavoury incidents.

Kevin-Prince Boateng led his Milan team-mates from the pitch after being abused by fans of Pro Patria during a friendly in January and, on May 12, the Serie A game between Roma and Milan became the first to be temporarily suspended after Roma fans did not heed loudspeaker warnings stop abusing Boateng and Mario Balotelli.

National associations had previously been fined by UEFA but new measures will target clubs directly, with escalated punishments beginning with a fine and partial stadium closure and rising to full stadium closure and a €50,000 fine.

Meanwhile, the minimum ban for abusing match officials has been raised from ten to 15 matches and the sanction for insulting an official has risen two to three games.

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