In an effort to quell racist incidents on the pitch, the Football Association has instituted a new disciplinary system to deter players from engaging in such actions.
According to Owen Gibson of The Guardian, any player found to have engaged in racist activities on the field will be banned for a minimum of five matches. If the racial abuse is considered to be especially severe, however, the initial suspension can be increased.
Guardian sport @guardian_sport
FA to bring in minimum five-match ban for racial abuse http://t.co/eHxaEFModi via @guardian5/16/2013, 2:38:58 PM
Also, any player charged with a second offense will be banned for at least 10 matches. In the wake of high-profile players such as Luis Suarez and John Terry being cited for racial abuse, the FA has clearly decided to take matters even more seriously than before.
This is obviously a positive step in the right direction as racism has no place in soccer or in life in general. It can certainly be argued whether or not a minimum five-game suspension is stringent enough, though.
According to BBC Sport, Uefa has been working to institute an automatic 10-game ban for racism.
It's still a scourge on the game. We have to have sanctions, (said Uefa general secretary Gianni Infantino). What we are proposing is that if a player or official is found guilty then they will be suspended for 10 matches.
Uefa is also looking to punish clubs if their fans engage in racist behavior during matches. That is clearly much tougher to monitor and enforce, but it's something that should be looked at moving forward.
Perhaps the FA hasn't come to a perfect conclusion quite yet, but anything that is instituted in order to stop the spread of racism is a good thing. If there isn't a noticeable change in racist incidents in soccer in the near future, then this is certainly something that must and will be revisited.
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