Players face tougher bans for racism, diving say UEFA

Updated: July 31, 2006, 6:11 PM ET
Reuters

ZURICH, July 21 - Players who make racist remarks face a five-match ban while those found guilty of diving will miss at least two games under new rules announced by European soccer's governing body on Monday.

UEFA's package of measures raises the mandatory three-match ban by two extra games for any player "who insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons, by whatever means, including grounds of colour, race, religion or ethnic origin".

Clubs whose fans engage in racist or discriminatory conduct will receive a minimum fine of 19,000 euros ($24,230). For more serious breaches, UEFA said on its Web site that it may hand down punishments such as playing games behind closed doors.

The governing body also said any extremist ideological propaganda is banned and could lead to the awarding matches by default, deducting points or disqualification from competitions.

Those running the beautiful game have become increasingly worried about racism within the sport with FIFA, the world governing body, warning that national associations who fail to impose tough new rules on racism face suspension.

RACIAL TAUNTS

During the World Cup, French players alleged that they were racially taunted by Spanish fans and last year Real Zaragoza and Racing Santander fans racially abused Barcelona forward Samuel Eto'o during league matches and were subsequently fined.

Rangers were also fined by UEFA for sectarian chants by their fans at a Champions League tie with Villarreal last year.

As part of the latest crackdown, players who try to "con" referees by diving or pretending to be injured to influence a decision will be banned for two games.

But the new rules reinforce the position that a referee's on-field decision is still final. Only the consequences of a decision by the referee may be reviewed in cases involving an obvious error, such as mistaken identity.

If a club has five players or more on yellow cards in the same match then it can be punished under new "improper conduct of a team" regulations.

UEFA also said the statutes of limitation regarding doping offences have been brought into line with requirements laid down by the World Anti-Doping Agency and legal action is now barred at the end of eight years for doping offences.

(Writing by Darren Ennis in Brussels)

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