will not tolerate racism at 2018 World Cup: Infantino
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[November 29, 2017]
(Reuters) - FIFA president
Gianni Infantino has said racism will not be tolerated at next
year's World Cup in Russia, adding that referees will have the power
to stop or even abandon matches if discriminatory incidents take
Several players, including Brazil and former Zenit St Petersburg
forward Hulk, have voiced concerns that racism could mar the
tournament, saying such incidents are a regular feature of domestic
league games in the country.
Infantino said in a video statement that anti-discrimination was a
"high priority" for FIFA, and that the organization would deal with
"We'll make sure that no incidents will happen and... we have for
the first time in a World Cup the so-called, three-step procedure
where a referee can stop a game or even abandon a game if there are
discriminatory or racist incidences," he added.
"We will be very, very firm on that so we can expect fair play in
Infantino, who was elected FIFA president in February of last year,
also said technology would play a big role at the tournament,
although a final decision on using video assistant referees (VARs)
would only be taken next year.
VAR, which involves officials watching the action remotely and
drawing the match referee's attention to officiating mistakes or
missed serious incidents, is already in use in the top-flight
leagues of Germany and Italy.
"I think it is absolutely normal that in 2018 we can explore and see
how we can help the referee and the team to take the right
decision," Infantino said.
"So video assistant refereeing is a topic which will be decided in
March of next year but the experience so far has been extremely
positive to help the referee not to commit big mistakes which
obviously as a human being he can do."
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FIFA President Gianni Infantino holds a news conference in Istanbul,
Turkey, 23, 2017. REUTERS/Osman Orsal
Goal-line technology will be used during the World Cup, he added,
having been used for the first time at the 2014 edition of the
tournament in Brazil.
Russia is also caught up in a doping scandal, and Deputy Prime
Minister Vitaly Mutko on Tuesday downplayed the issue of doping
among its soccer players, saying reports on them using
performance-enhancing drugs were an attempt to discredit the
Infantino said robust testing procedures would ensure a fair
"Obviously all players in all teams will be tested in competition
and out of competition by WADA-accredited laboratories and... and
fair play will reign in this respect," he said.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian
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