In a bid to quell fears related to racism and discrimination in Russia ahead of next summer’s World Cup, FIFA will introduce a three-step system at the Confederations Cup aimed at discouraging such behavior.
The system gives referees the authority to stop games if discriminatory chants or behavior occurs.
The first step is a stadium announcement demanding such behavior stop; if it continues, the referee may stop the game until the behavior subsides. If it still continues, the referee may suspend or abandon the game entirely.
It is unclear how the outcome of an abandoned game would be decided should it come to that.
Mexico, of course, has been fined a total of eight times for homophobic chanting in World Cup qualifiers – with more fines expected after the infamous “p*to” chant was clearly audible in El Tri’s June qualifiers as well.
Those fines, several anti-discrimination campaigns by the Mexican Football Federation, and stadium displays and announcements have done nothing to quell the homophobic chant.
It remains to be seen if the threat of abandoning games will have an effect.
Frankly, even with this new three-step system announced, it seems unlikely – to put it mildly -that a referee would be willing to abandon a game due to discriminatory fan behavior.
It is also, of course, incredibly hypocritical of FIFA to come down hard on fan racism and homophobia while awarding the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to countries with deplorable records in that regard. If FIFA were truly committed to stamping these issues out of the game, the World Cup would not be held in countries where homosexuality is illegal and/or highly stigmatized.