(Reuters) – A new system of match observers monitoring incidents of racism and discrimination at 2018 World Cup qualifiers was announced by FIFA on Tuesday.
The system will be co-ordinated by world soccer’s ruling body and implemented in co-operation with the European anti-discrimination organisation FARE.
Any incidents of discrimination or racism will be reported to FIFA which has pledged to impose disciplinary sanctions on any countries involved.
The implementation of the new system is particularly apt as racism is rife in soccer in Russia, hosts of the 2018 World Cup.
More than 200 incidents were committed by Russian fans between 2012 and 2014 according to a recent report by the Sova Center, a Moscow-based racism-monitoring group.
Last month FIFA president Sepp Blatter said “a lot of work needs to be done” to wipe the scourge of racism and discrimination from Russian soccer and the game in general.
FIFA and European soccer’s governing body UEFA have often imposed relatively small punishments when incidents have occurred in the past.