Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

FA may not follow Uefa's lead

David Bernstein said the Football Association will not necessarily follow Uefa's recommendation for a 10-match ban for players guilty of racism

The Football Association may not follow UEFA's recommendation of a 10-match minimum ban for players found guilty of racism, the governing body's chairman David Bernstein said.

UEFA will recommend to all its 53 member associations at next month's Congress that they follow its lead. But Bernstein said English football may not have the same minimum ban - in its two high-profile racism cases John Terry was banned for four matches and Luis Suarez for eight.

Speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, he said: "I can't comment on the number of matches that will be our minimum, we are working and are very close to a solution."

He added: "We have our own processes. We've our own audience of people we have to satisfy. There is a bind for all parts of English football and something we have to get to very carefully in a very measured way.

"We wouldn't necessarily get to the same solution as UEFA. It's not a race to be first past the post, we'll do it at our own pace in our own way.

"I'm delighted UEFA have come up with this strong penalty and I fully support them doing it - but English football must come to its own decision in its own time, which will be very soon."

Bernstein did state however that 10 matches was not too harsh.

He added: "These are very serious matters and I couldn't feel more strongly about discrimination. It's a strong penalty for sure but I wouldn't say it's too harsh."

UEFA will also introduce from next season a partial closure of stadiums for a first incident of racist abuse by fans and a full closure for a second offence. England manager Roy Hodgson said authorities had to ensure that far-right groups did not deliberately sabotage matches.

He said: "The one thing that concerns you a little bit is what happens at the stadium, it's very difficult to control every element. One does fear sabotage, with groups of people coming in who have nothing to do with football and who are perhaps of a Nazi persuasion and who could cause an awful lot of problems."

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