Manchester: European soccer governing body UEFA are planning to introduce tough new sanctions to combat racism with players found guilty of racist offences banned for a minimum of 10 matches, UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday.
Infantino also said there would be partial closure of stadiums for a first incident of racist abuse by fans and a full closure for a second offence plus far tougher financial penalties. The new sanctions, discussed by UEFA's Executive Committee but not revealed until Wednesday would affect all matches in European competition.
Infantino, the opening speaker at the Soccerex business convention in Manchester told delegates: "We have to have sanctions and they must have a deterrent effect and what we are proposing is if a player or official is convicted of racism they should receive a 10-match suspension at least.
"If supporters at a club are found guilty of racist abuse, the first sanction will be a partial closure of the part of the stadium from which the racist abuse took place. "For a second offence, there will be the full closure and a minimum fine of 50,000 euros." The Swiss also said referees would be encouraged to abandon matches if there was racist abuse from fans towards players at games.
A number of high profile racist issues have had huge impact in the recent past with Chelsea's John Terry banned for four matches and Liverpool's Luis Suarez for eight games for offences in England.
Kevin-Prince Boateng of AC Milan led his team off the field after racist abuse during a friendly match in Italy against lower league club Pro Patria in January and Infantino said they backed Boateng's stance but hoped it would not happen again. He did not say when the new rules would come into effect but they are likely to do so for the start of next season.