FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that referees in the upcoming World Cup in Russia will have the power to abandon games if their are incidents of racism.
There are plenty of fears that the tournament which begins next Thursday 15th of June could be dogged by discrimination and racism after historic problems in the country. In fact Sky Sports report that English defender Danny Rose has told his family not to travel to the tournament to avoid being abused, English boss Gareth Southgate has since came out and supported the player on this.
Infantino said regarding racism that there are serious measures in place and serious consequences if such incidents arise at games. He said “I wouldn’t say that we are concerned about discrimination, human rights and security but we take them very seriously, We have taken appropriate measure in the preparation process”. He went on to say further discussing the right of referees if these incidents occur and said ”We will have clear procedures in place, including a three-step process for referees who can stop, suspend or even abandon a match in case of discrimination.”We have a monitoring system and then immediate sanctions if something happens.”
Speaking about the Video Assistant Referee that will be in place for the first time ever at a World Cup the Italian said “Football is ready for the introduction of VAR, we have been testing it for the last two years”. ”We have been studying it and we are convinced of the benefits of it. It will not solve 100 per cent of the issues but it will be a great help to the referees and we have to help the referee if we can”.
The tournament kicks off on Thursday the 15th of June with the hosts Russia playing Saudi Arabia, before they go on to play Egypt and Uruguay in what will be three very tricky encounters.