Police will have the final say on whether to stop football matches in Italy due to racist chanting, as new guidelines were drawn up today.
The debate has been raging since Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off during a friendly between Milan and Pro Patria due to persistent racist chants from a small group of local fans.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter insisted stopping games “is not the answer,” but the FIGC has pushed ahead with guidelines to suspend play if there is reiterated racist abuse.
Today the Osservatorio – the group that organises safety and security measures around sporting events – released suggestions on how to deal with the problem.
The referee should tell the Fourth Official, who will then inform the official representing the Osservatorio in the stadium. He is “the only person responsible for the decision on whether to suspend the game.”
The players can make the referee aware of racist abuse, but the decision must still go through the officials.
Before taking such drastic action as to halt the game, the current procedure remains – the referee can order a message over the tannoy system warning that further racist abuse will result in the match being suspended.
The Osservatorio pointed out after today’s meeting that “there has been a further drop in the number of violent incidents, while manifestations of racism and intolerance, which are to be contrasted strongly, are episodic and always limited to a restricted group.”
Pro Patria, the lower League side whose fans insulted Boateng last week, will have to play their next match behind closed doors as punishment.