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FIFA statement on racist incidents; matches should be abandoned

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Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, has issued a statement after a growing number of racist incidents have blighted the beautiful game.

With a host of incidents in recent weeks, the head of world soccer’s governing body has reiterated that referees can “go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents” by following FIFA’s three-step procedure during racist incidents.

What is the three-step procedure? Here’s a reminder:

  • Step 1: Referees have the authority to first stop the match and request a public announcement to insist that the discriminatory behaviour cease.
  • Step 2: The officials can then suspend the match until the behaviour stops following another warning announcement.
  • Step 3: Finally, if the behaviour still persists, the referee will decide to abandon the match.

After England’s players were subjected to racist abuse in Montenegro, Juventus’ Moise Kean and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly were also racially abused, while fans of Chelsea were shown abusing Mohamed Salah in a video.

And those are just a few of the more high-profile incidents highlighted.

Below is the statement from Infantino in full, as FIFA and other governing bodies across the soccer world have to come down harder on those found guilty of racist abuse. Stadium bans and small fines aren’t working and this statement from Infantino admits to that.


In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football. This is really not acceptable. Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.

FIFA stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground. Racism needs to end. Full stop.

We introduced the so-called “three-step procedure” at our tournaments: a mechanism that allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents.

FIFA urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt the same procedure, as well as a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism in football, and to apply harsh sanctions for any such kind of behaviour.

We will continue to be at the forefront of the fight against racism and we guarantee to all our member associations that they have our full support in taking up this challenge. We will not hesitate to do everything in our power to eradicate racism, and any other form of discrimination, from football, at any level and anywhere in the world.

Reports: 48-team 2022 World Cup decision in June

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If FIFA can find appropriate countries to help Qatar host the 2022 World Cup, we may very well have a 48-team tournament.

The 2022 edition has been under the microscope about as long as Qatar has held the rights to host it, with workers’ rights and slave labor joining a suspicious bidding process which ultimately helped usher former FIFA czar Sepp Blatter out of his seat of power.

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Ten venues across five countries have been mentioned as possible co-hosts, with Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Kuwait in the running to host select World Cup matches.

FIFA conditionally approved the expansion of the tournament on Friday, pending a “joint feasibility study” conducted by Qatar and FIFA.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino infamously quipped that sharing the tournament could bring a measure of peace to the Middle East.

A 24-team 2021 Club World Cup was also approved, as the threat of big European teams boycotting the summer edition looms over Infantino’s plan to expand FIFA’s marquee club tournament.

Report: FIFA pushing for 24-team Club World Cup in 2021

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FIFA will try to push through a 24-team “test” Club World Cup at a meeting on Friday.

The AP’s Rob Harris reports that Gianni Infantino is about the stress the FIFA calendar by plugging a 2021 Club World Cup into the space reserved for the recently-canceled Confederations Cup.

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It would also present a sublime opportunity for the clubs of Major League Soccer, who’ve been serially foiled by Liga MX in the CONCACAF Champions League.

That means a June/July Club World Cup which would feature as many as eight European teams, six South American teams, three each from CONCACAF, Africa, and Asia, and one from Oceania.

It would run from June 17-July 4, 2021.

The tournament usually occurs with eight teams, one from each of seven confederations and an additional from a host. Recently, that’s been a Middle Eastern team.

The 2018 CWC included Real Madrid, Kashima Antlers, River Plate, Esperance de Tunis, Chivas Guadalajara, Team Wellington and Al-Ain.

So how could a 24-team look, based on how the Champions League-style competitions have played out recently? Consider what could’ve been the 2018 tourney:

Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester City
Manchester United
Juventus
Ajax
Porto
Barcelona
Bayern Munich
Palmeiras
Gremio
River Plate
Cruzeiro
Corinthians
Libertad
Kashima Antlers
Suwon Samsung Blues
Persepolis
Toronto FC
Chivas Guadalajara
Club America
Al-Ahly
Esperance de Tunis
1de Agosto
Team Wellington

FIFA council to assess 2022 World Cup expansion study next week

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An agenda for FIFA’s ruling council says plans to expand the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams will be assessed at next week’s meeting.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said fast-tracking the increase which was due to start at the 2026 tournament, would require using additional countries beyond Qatar.

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Qatar’s infrastructure is already stretched for the Middle East’s first World Cup, currently scheduled for 32 teams playing 64 games in 28 days.

To fit in 16 additional games, FIFA is looking at using Kuwait and Oman, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential.

FIFA council members are yet to be provided with the feasibility study on World Cup expansion that will be discussed on March 15 in Miami.

The council will also discuss Infantino’s desire to expand the Club World Cup and launch a Global Nations League, plans that have stalled amid European opposition.

Infantino the lone candidate for FIFA president’s election

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA President Gianni Infantino is set to serve four more years as the leader of soccer’s governing body as the only candidate for election.

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Infantino had the required nomination letters from five of the 211 member federations when the deadline passed at midnight Tuesday in Zurich, FIFA said Wednesday.

Infantino must now pass the formality of eligibility and integrity checks for the election on June 5 in Paris.

The 48-year-old Swiss lawyer has been widely expected to win unopposed with support already pledged by most FIFA members, including through their continental governing bodies such as North America’s CONCACAF and South America’s CONMEBOL.

Since being elected in February 2016, Infantino oversaw expanding the World Cup to 48 teams in 2026, and picking the United States, Canada and Mexico to co-host it.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic scores in wild German Cup match (video) ]

He is completing the term of Sepp Blatter, who announced his resignation plan days after American and Swiss prosecutors revealed sweeping investigations of corruption in soccer in May 2015. Blatter was later banned by the FIFA ethics committee for financial irregularities along with Michel Platini, Infantino’s former boss at UEFA.

The main event of Infantino’s first full mandate is the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

FIFA is still studying if that tournament — being played for the first time in November and December — could also be expanded to 48 teams. It would require Qatar agreeing to share hosting duties with regional neighbors because the gas-rich emirate does not have stadiums and infrastructure to cope with the extra games and teams.

Infantino has acknowledged the 2022 tournament is unlikely to be changed amid the region’s current diplomatic tensions. A decision could be taken by the FIFA Council in Miami next month to honor Qatar’s original hosting plan.