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AP: FIFA task force seeks 5-game racism ban

AP: FIFA task force seeks 5-game racism ban
FILE - In this May 12, 2013, file photo AC Milan players Mario Balotelli, left, Kevin Prince Boateng (10) stand on the pitch during a stoppage in play in a Serie A soccer match between AC Milan and AS Roma, at Milan's San Siro Stadium.. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, File)
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LONDON (AP) - FIFA's new anti-racism task force will ask soccer's governing body next week to approve a mandatory five-match minimum ban for any player found guilty of racist abuse, a person with knowledge of the situation said Friday.

The anti-racism task force is to report to the FIFA Congress in Mauritius next week, aiming for FIFA to introduce the mandatory ban in all 209 member nations.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the sanctions ahead of the congress.

Jeffrey Webb, who heads the FIFA task force, would not confirm the exact minimum sanction being recommended.

"I can't speak about that yet," Webb said. "We're looking at making sure that is spread across the 209 member associations and, regardless of what UEFA does or CONCACAF does, from a global standpoint, there must be certain minimum standards.

"It's time to make people accountable ... FIFA must set the minimum standard and say, 'These are the sanctions,' and if you infringe on this, these are the consequences."

FIFA's disciplinary code currently has a five-game minimum ban for racist abuse, but it only applies for players in international competitions.

UEFA this week endorsed a tougher 10-match sanction for racist abuse to apply for matches in European competitions.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter set up the anti-racism task force after AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng led his teammates off the field when he was racially abused during an exhibition against Italian fourth-tier side Pro Patria in January.

In the last year, Chelsea defender John Terry and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in the Premier League were suspended because of racial abuse.

On May 12, play was stopped for almost two minutes during the second half when visiting Roma supporters would not stop chanting at Boateng and Milan teammate Mario Balotelli. Warnings over the stadium loud speaker went unheeded, leading a referee to briefly suspend a Serie A match due to racism for the first time.
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