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By ESPN Staff

UEFA increase racism punishments for players

Players found guilty of racism in UEFA matches next season will face possible five-match bans, European football's governing body have confirmed.

Under UEFA's disciplinary regulations, which have been updated for the 2006-07 season, any player found to have insulted an opponent on the basis of colour, race, religion or ethnicity risks the lengthy suspension.

Clubs whose supporters are found guilty of similar offences will be hit with fines of at least £13,000, with UEFA having the option of closing stadia, deducting points or, in the most extreme cases, imposing disqualification.

UEFA are now following FIFA guidelines, which were refreshed earlier this year to combat racism.

World governing body FIFA have warned they could suspend national associations who fail to impose tough new rules on racism.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed during the World Cup that the regulations - including docking points from clubs and countries whose fans are guilty of racism offences - were obligatory.