Miami, Jan 15 (IANS/CMC) CONCACAF has announced a three-step approach aimed at combating racism during football matches in the region.
The protocol for dealing with racist incidents during games was passed by the Executive Committee of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), a statement from the organisation Tuesday said, reports CMC.
The protocol outlines three stages for tackling racist and discriminatory behaviour in football stadiums, such as racist chants, insults and banners.
"We congratulate our 41 member associations for safeguarding a culture of diversity within football," said CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb.
"Even though the history of CONCACAF shows a great track record when it comes to diversity on the field, the Confederation is committed to creating standards to continue promoting good practice across the region."
The first phase of the protocol allows referees to stop the game and order a stadium announcement urging racist and discriminatory behaviour to cease.
The second phase, if necessary, gives the referee the authority to suspend the game for 5-10 minutes and send the teams to the dressing room while another stadium announcement is made.
Under the third phase of the protocol, the referee can declare the match abandoned if the behaviour continues.
"The procedure outlines a clear and precise approach of zero tolerance for racist or discriminatory incidents that may arise during matches," said Webb, who is also chairman of the FIFA Anti-Racism and Discrimination Task Force.
"By safeguarding the basic principle of respect amongst all individuals in our stadiums, we hope to make sure that nothing steers the focus away from the talent displayed by our players during each game."
The new protocol is part of the Confederation's Embrace Diversity campaign, launched during the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup.