July 11 – FIFA is doubling its minimum ban for racist incidents to 10 games and will in future allow players to make victim statements at disciplinary hearings as part of an overhaul of its disciplinary code – the first for 15 years – taking effect from Monday.

The updated FIFA code will now sanction any discriminatory behaviour related to “race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or any other status or any other reason”.

The new code is also clearer and more concise, with the number of articles reduced from 147 to 72.

‘Topics like racism and discrimination have been updated, putting FIFA at the forefront of the fight against this appalling attack on the fundamental human rights of individuals,” FIFA said in a statement.

”FIFA will not let down victims of racist abuse,” FIFA added, saying they ”may be invited by the respective judicial body to make an oral or written victim impact statement.”

FIFA is also preparing to open the doors of some judicial hearings.

”For the first time, certain types of disciplinary hearings – concerning doping and match-manipulation cases – will be open to the public if the parties request it.”

The changes follow a series of notable incidents last season in domestic and international football. Inter Milan were ordered to play two home games behind closed doors after their supporters racially insulted Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly. And Montenegro were ordered by UEFA to play one home game behind closed for the racist behaviour of their supporters during a match against England.

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Paul Nicholson