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MFA to hand power to referees to stop matches for racism

Anti-racism procedure regulations on the implementation of a protocol when discriminatory behaviour is observed during local football matches have been approved by the Malta FA Executive Board earlier today.

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.

Malta FA president Bjorn Vassallo highlighted that discriminatory incidents are unfortunately increasing in general and football is only another means in this regard.

“Football should not be misused by anyone projecting any discriminatory message. The decision to empower referees to act against racism and to follow a procedure that 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,” president Vassallo said.

On the recent incident which occurred last weekend during the BOV Premier League match between Floriana and Sta Lucia, Vassallo informed the Executive Board that the association is assisting the Police who are conducting investigations.

“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 by the supporters stops immediately (at those levels where matches are played in football grounds not equipped with a pa system, the match official will communicate directly with the respective club officials),” the MFA statement said.

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

“Finally, 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 behavior has ceased. Any decision to abandon the match will only be taken after all other possible measures have been implemented.”

Visit by Alexander Ceferin

The Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo confirmed that UEFA President Alexander Ceferin will be present for the National A Team match between Malta and Cyprus which is to be played at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium on Wednesday 1st September 2021.

Other activities in relation to the visit will be announced in due course.

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