UEFA approves 10-game racism ban, blood tests
UEFA General Secretary Gianni Infantino speaks to members of the media during a press conference in central London on May 23, 2013. European football's governing body UEFA on Thursday formally ratified plans to impose 10-game European suspensions on players and officials found guilty of racism.
Racist behaviour by supporters will initially be punished with a partial stadium closure, with a full stadium closure for a second offence.
The new measures were approved at the organisation's executive committee meeting in London, but UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said individual member associations could still opt to introduce their own anti-racism sanctions, after England's Football Association announced plans for minimum five-game bans.
"An association should adopt the same or similar measures. UEFA has always acted in a way to try to convince people rather than impose," he told a press conference.
"I don't think you measure the way of fighting against racism in one simple measure and sanction.
"The way I read the FA's decision is that it could be five matches and it could also be 15. The FA are sure their way of regulating is more correct for England.
"It's their decision, but it doesn't mean they do more or less than us. Everyone has to do what they can do in this field.
"The FA is autonomous and know best what is best for England to do in the fight against racism. It is probably one of the countries where the most has been done."
The new measures will come into force on June 1.
UEFA also announced that it will extend the use of blood tests to detect doping from next season onwards.
"We want to do everything possible to show that we want a clean sport," Infantino said.
"We had some good experiments with blood tests in 2008 and 2012 (at the European Championships). We thought it was the right moment."
Infantino added that medical experts would decide the number of tests to be conducted and in which competitions the tests would be carried out.
Until now, UEFA has relied on urine tests, which several specialists consider insufficient.
In addition, UEFA will launch a study of 900 samples taken from footballers since 2008 in order to look for traces of steroids. The tests will be anonymous and will not lead to sanctions.
UEFA also announced stricter punishments for insulting and assaulting match officials.
The ban for insulting officials has been raised from two to three matches, while players who assault officials will now face suspensions of 15 matches, rather than 10.
In another announcement, UEFA revealed that the 2015 Champions League final will take place at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, with the Europa League final being hosted by Warsaw.
At Friday's UEFA Congress, the organisation is also expected to announce that the winners of the Europa League will qualify automatically for the Champions League, in order to boost the appeal of the second-tier tournament.
"We have to do something to improve the Europa League," Infantino said.
"One way is to provide a sporting incentive in the form of a qualifying place for the Champions League. That's being discussed and we'll know more about it very soon."
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