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FIFA, after consulting with victims including Vinicius Jr., is calling on all national associations to make racist insults a disciplinary offense and suggests that perpetrators should be punished “with forfeited games.”

  • Vinicius Jr. was the subject of alleged racist abuse by fans in Spain
  • The Brazilian burst into tears during a Real Madrid press conference in March
  • CHRIS SUTTON: Fans are sick of VAR… but it’s here to stay – Listen to ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ Podcast



After months of consultation with affected players, including Vinicius Junior, FIFA will call on all 211 national associations to punish racist insults in football as a disciplinary offence.

Football’s world governing body on Thursday also proposed “a standard global gesture for players to communicate racist incidents” to referees – hands clasped at the wrists and raised in the air – and calling for game abandonments as a specific punishment.

A five-pillar pledge to combat racism will be presented to FIFA member associations at their annual meeting in Bangkok on Friday.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino vowed months ago to make a global proposal and has consulted with Brazilian star Vinicius Junior, who is black and was repeatedly abused by fans in Spain while playing for Real Madrid.

“It is time for football to come together and make an unequivocal commitment as a global community to address the problem of racism in football,” FIFA said in a letter to member associations.

World football’s governing body, led by Gianni Infantino, promised months ago to make a global proposal and will present this to FIFA member associations in Bangkok on Friday

FIFA also wants to set up a players’ panel to “monitor and advise on the implementation of these measures worldwide.”

Football has struggled for more than a decade to combat racism in stadiums by agreeing and coordinating the on-field responses of match officials and the post-match disciplinary actions of associations and competition organizers.

In some cases, investigations were closed by football authorities because there was no evidence beyond a player allegation of abuse.

Black players who claimed to have been racially abused by opponents or fans and attempted to leave the field received a yellow card themselves for their behavior.

FIFA wants the crossed hands gesture to be the recognized signal for referees to initiate a long-standing three-stage process in a match where racist and discriminatory insults are heard: stop the game and broadcast warnings around the stadium, teams to take out the game field, then cancel games.

This three-stage process should be mandatory for all 211 associations, FIFA said on Thursday.

Brazilian superstar Vinicius Jr. was allegedly racially abused by fans in Spain and burst into tears during a Real Madrid press conference in March
FIFA said in a statement to member associations: “It is time for football to come together and make a clear commitment as a global community to address the problem of racism in football.”

The crossed hands gesture was made on a medal podium at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics by American athlete Raven Saunders, who won silver in the women’s shot put.

“It is the intersection where all oppressed people meet,” Saunders later said.

This prompted the International Olympic Committee to open a disciplinary investigation into a political statement made at a medal ceremony. The investigation was closed days later following the death of Saunders’ mother.

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