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FIGC augments anti-racism procedure following Inter Milan debacle

Power given to referees in instances of racial abuse.

FC Internazionale v US Sassuolo - Serie A
The FC Internazionale fans show BUU (Brothers Universally United) signs from the campaign against racism prior to the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and US Sassuolo at
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

A rule change gives referees in Italian football the power to remove teams from the pitch in instances where players are racially abused.

The Italian FC (FIGC) passed the rule change allowing referees to take teams off after just one announcement.

The ruling comes a month after Inter Milan fans taunted Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly in a Boxing Day match at the Giuseppe Meazza.

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Internazionale - UEFA Champions League Group B
Fans enjoy the pre-match atmosphere ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Tottenham Hotspur and FC Internazionale at Wembley Stadium on November 28, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.
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During the match, Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said he asked the fourth official to halt play after Koulibaly was racially taunted by Inter fans. However, rules in place didn’t allow that to happen. Koulibaly was subsequently sent off after receiving a red card later in the match.

Referees in Italy still don’t have the ability to abandon a game as only the chief of stadium security has that authority, but officials will be able to halt a game and remove players to the dressing rooms much sooner than was previously allowed.

Under the new rule, referees will pull teams to the center circle and an announcement will be made to the crowd, in the event of racial discrimination from fans.

If the discrimination persists, referees will be able to lead teams off the field and play will be suspended. Under the previous rule, referees could not halt play and remove teams until three announcements had been made.

Inter Milan received a two-match fan ban as a result of the abuse sustained by Koulibaly. For two home matches – as well as an away fixture at Empoli – fans were banned from attending matches. Inter was able to allow more than 10,000 children to a match against Sassuolo, but no other fans were allowed.

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