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FIFA approves stricter racism sanctions

FIFA's member countries have approved new strict regulations to combat racism in football at the world governing body's congress in Mauritius.

The regulations, which include the possibility of clubs being relegated for the most serious offences, were passed by 204 votes to one. FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has reportedly said he believes the vote against was due to a mistake with the voting system.

Sanctions for first or minor offences will be punished by a warning, a fine or a match being played behind closed doors, while more serious or repeated offences will result in points deductions, expulsion from tournaments and even relegation.

Players or officials found guilty of racist abuse will be banned for five matches, with the rules extended to encompass club football as well as the international game.

The congress will also discuss and vote on reforms of the regulations on match-fixing which, along with racism, is being targeted by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

"There have been some despicable offences this year that have cast a long shadow over football and the rest of society. I am speaking about the politics of hate, racism," he said.

"There is no place in football for racism and neither is there any place for match-fixing or manipulation.

"We have to be tough and we have to make it plain to the racists that their time is up, it is finished.

"And there is no greater threat to our game than match-fixing - that comes from within football. We need the help of public authorities and the police everywhere to drive it from our game."