CONMEBOL announce tougher penalties for racism after series of incidents

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South American confederation CONMEBOL on Monday announced increased sanctions against clubs with players, officials and fans found guilty of racist behavior, taking action after a series of incidents in its top club competitions.

With immediate effect, any player or official found guilty of discrimination will be banned for a minimum of five games or two months, the confederation said.

Any club whose fans are found to have engaged in discriminatory behavior will be fined a minimum of $100,000, more than three times the previous minimum, and could be forced to play games behind closed doors.

The penalties apply to discrimination based on skin color, race, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, language or creed, CONMEBOL said in a statement.

The decision was taken “due to the worrying increase in the number of offenses committed by supporters which involve discrimination, in particular racism”, he said.

This follows several incidents in April, mostly involving racist gestures targeting Brazilian players in the Copa Libertadores, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, or the Copa Sudamericana, the regional version of the Europa League.

Brazilians playing against teams from Argentina, Chile and Ecuador have been targeted, prompting the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) to call for an “international crusade” against racism and discrimination.

He invited clubs, law enforcement, media and judicial authorities to meet with FIFA and the CBF in June to discuss what form the campaign might take.

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