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Sports watchdog, soccer federation devise antiracism rules

Referees could request halt to matches due to fan intolerance

09 January, 19:22
Sports watchdog, soccer federation devise antiracism rules (ANSA) - Rome, January 9 - A specially designated public-order officer will be given the authority to halt soccer games in cases of racism and other forms of fan intolerance, Italy's sports governing body said Wednesday.

It set out new rules governing how it will handle incidents such as a match last week when AC Milan soccer players walked off the field amid racist chants during an exhibition game with fourth-division club Pro Patria.

The sports governing body met Wednesday with Antonello Valentini, director of the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) and unanimously approved the new protocol.

In the future, referees will need to contact the designated public-order officer, who can then decide how to handle the incident.

Options will include suspending the match temporarily, with warnings to misbehaving fans over the public address system; or definitively suspending the game.

The Football Federation is expected to distribute information and training on the new protocol.