South American Football Association lifts penalty for racism cases

Conmebol, the governing body of South American football, has decided to increase fines against clubs whose fans, players or staff are involved in cases of racism or discrimination.

Fines will now go from just $30,000, which has been criticized as little more than a slap on the wrist – given that home teams earn $1m per match they host – to a minimum of $100,000.

The change to the organization’s disciplinary code came after Brazilian fans were the target of racist acts at five different Copa Libertadores matches – the South American equivalent of the UEFA Champions League – in April, as we explained in the last Latin America Weekly newsletter.

Conmebol also decided that players or officials found guilty of related crimes would be suspended from official competitions for up to two months. Clubs will also be forced to hold matches behind closed doors depending on the reactions of their supporters.

“The competitions organized by Conmebol require the cooperation of all those involved to avoid unsportsmanlike behavior, in particular racism, xenophobia or any other form of discrimination,” the confederation said.

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