England

FA approves 5-match ban for racism

FA chairman David Bernstein
Football Association chairman David Bernstein supports the five-match ban punishment.
Share This Story

   
 

Racist and homophobic abuse by players will carry a minimum five-match ban from next season, the Football Association has announced.

The sanction however is only half the 10-match minimum ban being introduced by UEFA into European competitions from next season, and campaigners have labeled the FA's decision "a missed opportunity."

The FA's sanction will be the "entry level" punishment for the "least serious" discriminatory offenses with longer bans for higher level offenses. Players found guilty of offenses will have to attend educational programs, and for a second offense there will be a minimum 10-game ban.

Clubs who have two or more players found guilty of discrimination offenses within a 12-month period will also face charges and could even have points deducted. Although there are no openly gay players in English professional football, the rules will apply to any player who uses homophobic abuse to any other player.

The new rules come after a review of sanctions following the high-profile cases which saw John Terry banned for four matches and Luis Suarez for eight games for racist abuse on the pitch.

It is understood that under the new rules both of those cases would carry longer bans than just five games. FA chairman David Bernstein said: "Importantly, today's agreement encompasses all elements of discrimination, not just racial abuse."

There is potential embarrassment for the FA however given that it is hosting UEFA's Congress in London next week, and Europe's governing body will submit a resolution recommending that all member associations follow its lead on 10 matches.

Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-racism body FARE and a member of FIFA's new anti-racism task force, said: "As someone working across borders to promote anti-discrimination I think it's a shame it can't be the 10 games UEFA say they will implement in their own competitions and that they are recommending all national associations will adopt.

"It is a missed opportunity, and also a shame when the FA has already sanctioned a player, Luis Suarez, for more than five matches for racism. One of the biggest concerns is inconsistency and mixed messages.

"It's progress to have a minimum sanction, but sanctions for players appear to be made up on the hoof. Why is biting 10 games [the recent ban given to Suarez] and racism five games? Surely UEFA's 10-match ban should be the standard to follow."

Bernstein defended the FA's decision not to follow UEFA's lead, saying the five-game ban had been agreed by all parts of the English game including anti-racism body Kick It Out.

He said: "From our point of view it [10-match ban] has no subtlety to it. It should have subtlety to it. Any racism is unacceptable but there are different levels of offense.

"It's also a timing issue. We have been through an extensive process and have to get it approved through English football. It [UEFA's ban] came in right at the end of the process when we have spent months getting a consensus.

"But if European football says the line is in the wrong place then we may have to re-evaluate that."

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by