The implementation of the new disciplinary proceedings follows a row of racist and xenophobic incidents that, recently, marred two matches of the first division Liga MX and saw four foreign players being subjected to monkey chants.
The protocol, which came into force yesterday (25 February), is applicable to all leagues and tournaments of the Mexican professional football, including the Liga MX, the country’s second division Ascenso MX and the cup competition Copa MX.
The document was elaborated in accordance with FIFA and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’s (CONCACAF) disciplinary codes to eradicate racism and discrimination in the game.
“We see this as a very important opportunity for football governing bodies and all those involved in this sport act according to the new legislation to promote equality and counter discrimination”, said the Mexican National Council Against Discrimination (Conapred).
Similar to UEFA’s “three-step-protocol”, the Mexican version stipulates the procedures to be taken in the event of discriminatory incidents in the stadium.
First or minor offence
If the referee notices or is made aware of any kind of discriminatory behaviour, he or she should stop the match and through the stadium’s tannoy system ask the supporters to immediately cease the improper conduct.
Second stage serious offence
If the discriminatory behaviour continues after the match restarts, the referee should interrupt the it for a period of time between 5-10 minutes and send the teams back to the dressing rooms.
Another stadium announcement should be made, this time explaining the fans that if the discriminatory behaviour continues the match will be suspended and the stadium evacuated.
Third stage serious offence
If the improper behaviour continues after the two first stages, the referee can suspend the match and request for the evacuation of the stadium. The match will then be re-started behind closed doors.
The protocol specifically states that the new measures are applicable to racist incidents, however it is unclear if other forms of discrimination are also covered by the new law.
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