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FIFA propose mandatory racism sanctions, including match forfeits

FIFA will present a proposal to its Congress to implement mandatory sanctions, including match forfeits, for incidents of racist abuse across all its 211 member associations, the secretary general of world soccer's governing body said on Thursday (May 16).

Mattias Grafstrom, who was formally appointed as the FIFA Secretary General this week, wrote a letter to all member associations outlining the proposal which includes rules and sanctions, action on the field and potential criminal charges.

"We ... will make racism a specific offence with mandatory inclusion in the individual Disciplinary Codes of all 211 FIFA Member Associations, differentiating racism from other incidents, giving acts of racism their own specific and severe sanctions, including match forfeits," Grafstrom said, with the proposal to be presented at the FIFA Congress in Bangkok on Friday.

"We will pause, suspend and abandon games in cases of racism, introducing a global standard gesture for players to communicate racist incidents and referees to signal the implementation of the three-step procedure."

The gesture involves players raising their hands and crossing their wrists so the referee is made aware of a racist incident.

The three-step procedure adopted by FIFA involves the referee requesting a public announcement to call for such behaviour to cease, suspending the match until it stops and, in some scenarios, abandoning the match altogether.

"We ... will push for the recognition of racism as a criminal offence in every country in the world, and where already an offence, will push for prosecution with the severity it deserves," FIFA added.

FIFA will also look into developing and promoting educational initiatives with schools and governments while establishing