FIFA to employ discrimination monitors at 2018 World Cup matches


FIFA announced today that the organization will implement a new racism monitoring system at matches in Russia during the 2017 Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup.

The system, which was constructed based on recommendations from a FIFA task force focused on preventing racism and discrimination, will revolve around officials at games who will monitor crowds and provide information to match and arena officials both during and after games.

Interestingly, FIFA’s release explicitly says the monitor’s “main objective is to optimize legal procedures by providing much needed evidence leading to potential sanctions” not necessarily to take action during the matches in an effort to stop or prevent any violations.

From FIFA’s official announcement:

As part of the new monitoring system, specially trained Anti-Discrimination Match Observers will be appointed to games that have been identified as high risk. After every monitored match, the Match Observer will provide a report within 24 hours to FIFA’s disciplinary body, which will analyse the information and decide on the potential opening of disciplinary proceedings.

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has been highly outspoken on racism in the sport, and approved of the additional steps taken. “I’m very satisfied to see that FIFA is taking this issue very seriously and putting in place concrete measures to stop behavior which goes against the spirit of our sport,” Toure said during the unveiling at Wembley Stadium.

FIFA will collaborate with the FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) Network to assess each match in order to determine which will be flagged as high-risk environments. FARE executive director Piara Powar said games involving England, France, and Germany have a higher risk of racial events occurring.

The environment in Russia leading up to and during the 2018 World Cup has been a concern for many around the world in the racism department. Sepp Blatter said there is “a lot of work to be done” regarding creating a safe and comfortable environment for players and fans in the country.