Referees can abandon World cup matches in case of racism, says FIFA president

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino says protocols are in place so that referees can abandon World Cup matches if there are incidents of racism.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says referees will have the power to abandon matches at the World Cup if there are incidents of racism.

There are fears the tournament in Russia, starting next Thursday, could be dogged by discrimination after historic problems in the country.

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Infantino says there are measures in place should anything occur during matches and has warned of "serious consequences" if there are such issues.

He said: "I wouldn't say that we are concerned about discrimination, human rights and security but we take them very seriously, We have taken appropriate measure in the preparation process.

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"We will have clear procedures in place, including a three-step process for referees who can stop, suspend or even abandon a match in case of discrimination.

"We have a monitoring system and then immediate sanctions if something happens.

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"We obviously wish that doesn't happen and everyone has been warned that if it happens there will be serious consequences."

The 21st edition of the tournament in Russia will be the first-ever to use video technology, with the introduction of VAR.

Trials have brought varying degrees of success but Infantino says the time is right to bring it in and added: "Football is ready for the introduction of VAR, we have been testing it for the last two years.

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"We have been studying it and we are convinced of the benefits of it. It will not solve 100 per cent of the issues but it will be a great help to the referees and we have to help the referee if we can.

"In 2018 it's not conceivable that everyone in the stadium or at home knows within seconds if the referee has committed a big mistake and this can happen because they are human.

"The only one who doesn't know is the referee, not because he didn't want to know but because we prohibited him to know.

"Now we allow him to know and this will bring more justice in the game. The referee will always take the final decision."

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