1 Jun 2013

New measures to combat racism in football

3:55 pm on 1 June 2013

World football's governing body FIFA has ushered in new measures to tackle racism, with an increased minimum five-game ban for players guilty of racist abuse.

Clubs and countries whose supporters are persistent offenders could find themselves relegated or excluded from international competition.

FIFA also passed a wide-ranging new set of reforms aimed at cleaning up their tarnished image, which were overwhelmingly passed by huge majorities at its annual congress.

Lydia Nsereka, 45, president of the Burundi Football Association, also became the first woman in its 109-year history to be voted on to the executive committee.

But - as ever - discontent was rumbling in the background.

Proposals to introduce age limits and mandate limits for senior officials were left off the agenda, much to the annoyance of European body UEFA, whose move to have them re-instated was deferred until next year's Congress in Sao Paolo.

There was also an uncomfortable moment in the Congress hall when Mark Pieth, the Swiss law professor who chairs the reforming Indepedent Governance Committee, told delegates from 208 of FIFA's 209 members that Blatter and senior executives should reveal their salaries.

Pieth emphasised that more needed to be done for FIFA to become truly transparent.

When the time came to vote, the reforms were all passed with massive majorities of well over 90 percent.

Many of them involved detailed restructuring of mundane rules which are only of interest to those affected by them, but they also including the rubber-stamping of the new Ethics Committee with real teeth aimed at finding any wrongdoing.