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FIFA pushes back against acts of racism

ReutersFIFA is doubling its minimum ban for racist incidents to 10 games and will allow players to make victim statements and participate in proceedings, world soccer’s governing body said Thursday.

Stricter punishments against racism and other discriminatory behavior were a key part of FIFA’s updated disciplinary code taking effect Monday.

“FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee may permit the victim to make a statement, allowing the latter to participate in the proceedings. FIFA will not let down victims of racist abuse,” the body said in a statement.

The changes follow on from several high profile incidents last season in domestic and international soccer. Inter Milan was ordered to play two home games behind closed doors after their supporters racially insulted Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly, who received a red card for showing dissent, was banned for two matches, sparking criticism that the victim was being punished.

Montenegro was also ordered by European governing body UEFA to play a home game behind closed doors as part of sanctions handed out for the racist behavior of its supporters during a match against England.

The FIFA code expands the scope of what is considered discriminatory behavior to anything related to “race, skin color, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or any other status or any other reason.”

A match will be forfeited by a team if its supporters are guilty of racist and other discriminatory acts.

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