The referees on the pitch will have the full authority to suspend or abandon the match at this month’s World Cup if discriminatory behaviour persists in the crowd, FIFA has announced.
“We have a strong monitoring system in place. Furthermore, everyone who is part of the match organisation, including staff, volunteers, teams, stewards and security personnel has been briefed and trained to ensure that, if discriminatory incidents occur, the right action is taken swiftly,” FIFA Head of Sustainability & Diversity Federico Addiechi said.
A team of observers will monitor the situation from the stands. Referees on the pitch will also be able to intervene if needed, and will have the authority to initially stop the ongoing match and make a public announcement asking for the discriminatory behaviour to cease. They could later suspend the match until the behaviour stops following another warning announcement, and finally they will have the power to abandon it in case the behaviour persists.
“FIFA has a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination and this is something we take very seriously. Besides the educational measures that include a Good Practice Guide shared with all our member associations, we have systems in place to react to and sanction discriminatory acts as well as measures to ensure a discrimination-free environment at the FIFA World Cup.” FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura said in a statement.