CONCACAF introduces anti-racism protocol for matches

Protocol complements Embrace Diversity™ campaign to promote integration within the football community and society

Miami, January 13, 2014 - CONCACAF’s Executive Committee has passed a comprehensive protocol for dealing with racist incidents during matches in CONCACAF tournaments which enters into force with immediate effect. The protocol outlines a three-stage method for dealing with any serious racist and/or discriminatory behavior in football stadiums, such as racist chants, insults, screams and banners.

“We congratulate our 41 Member Associations for safeguarding a culture of diversity within football. Even though the history of CONCACAF shows a great track record when it comes to diversity on the field, the Confederation is committed to creating standards to continue promoting good practice across the region,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb.

Under the protocol and as a first phase, when a referee becomes aware of serious racist and/or discriminatory behavior committed in a stadium, he or she shall first stop the game and order a stadium announcement urging the behavior to cease. As a second phase and if the behavior continues, the referee shall suspend the game for 5-10 minutes and send the teams to the dressing room while another stadium announcement is made. Finally, and if the behavior continues, the third phase shall consist, as a very last resort, in the referee declaring the match abandoned.

CONCACAF will provide training to Integrity Officers, Match Commissioners and Referees to assist in monitoring for incidents during high risk games. However, referees will ultimately be responsible for implementing the approved protocol during each game played throughout the Confederation’s tournaments. Regardless of whether a game is declared as suspended or abandoned, CONCACAF’s Disciplinary Committee will still establish whether disciplinary measures should be imposed to sanction the undesirable incidents.

“The procedure outlines a clear and precise approach of zero tolerance for racist or discriminatory incidents that may arise during matches,” said Webb, who is also Chairman of the FIFA Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force.By safeguarding the basic principle of respect amongst all individuals in our stadiums, we hope to make sure that nothing steers the focus away from the talent displayed by our players during each game.”

This protocol is part of the Confederation’s Embrace Diversity™ campaign, launched during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will include strong educational initiatives throughout 2014 and beyond.

Sessions on awareness of diversity and discrimination issues will be included in CONCACAF’s ongoing grassroots development courses and other training for coaches, referees and officials across the region, starting with the program in St. Lucia on January 25th.

The Embrace Diversity™ campaign was created to provide a strong, recognized, effective and influential voice to promote inclusion and tolerance within the football community and society.

The full text of the Protocol for Racist Incidents during Matches is available here.