New MFA rules allow referees to halt, abandon matches if racism incident occurs

Malta FA introduces new anti-racism rules empowering referees to suspend or even abandon games

Ta' Qali National Stadium
Ta' Qali National Stadium

Referees will be allowed to halt matches when a racist incident occurs inside stadiums, under newly approved MFA regulations. 

The new regulations were approved by the Malta FA Executive Board earlier on Tuesday. 

“Discussions on the matter had already started last season, whereby a procedure based on UEFA’s Anti-Racism 3-step procedure, was being adjusted for its application in domestic football matches,” a statement read.

The proposed regulations are in line with UEFA approved official guidelines to help match officials handle incidents of racism inside stadiums.

On Sunday, Floriana FC condemned and distanced itself from the racist abuse by one of its supporters against Santa Lucia goalkeeper Julani Archibald.

If any racist or discriminatory behaviour is observed, the match official in question will ask for a public announcement to be made, requesting that such behaviour stops immediately.

In football grounds not equipped with a PA system, the match official will communicate directly with the respective club officials.

“If such behaviour persists after the game has restarted then the referee will suspend the match for a few minutes,” regulations read. 

“As a final resort, if racist behaviour continues the referee can definitely decide to abandon the match and the case will be referred to the Control, Disciplinary and Ethics Committee.”

“The MFA match-day officers will assist the referee in determining whether the racist behaviour has ceased. Any decision to abandon the match will only be taken after all other possible measures have been implemented.”

MFA President Bjorn Vassallo said the association is committed towards fighting racism in the game. 

“The decision to empower referees to act against racism and to follow a procedure which could result in the suspension or even abandonment of a football match, is a strong sign that the Malta FA, its clubs and members will do whatever is in their control to prevent such behaviour,” he said.

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