FIFA will appoint observers who will attend certain qualifying matches for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in a bid to crack down on racism, revealed the world's football governing body on Tuesday.
"As part of the new monitoring system, specially trained Anti-Discrimination Match Observers will be appointed to games that have been identified as high risk," read a statement on FIFA's website.
"After every monitored match, the Match Observer will provide a report within 24 hours to FIFA's disciplinary body, which will analyze the information and decide on the potential opening of disciplinary proceedings.
"Both qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2017 Confederations Cup in the same country will have observers at games. The anti-discrimination Fare network will decide, based on a risk assessment, which qualifying matches require monitoring for racism. "There is more likely to be racism when England play, when the French team play, or when Germany play," Fare's executive director Piara Powar said.
FIFA president Joseph Blatter welcomed the move: "I'm very happy to see this program taking shape and being rolled out first for the 2018 qualifiers. The new monitoring system is a very concrete measure in order to ensure that football sends a clear message for diversity and against any form of discrimination."
"I'm very satisfied to see that FIFA is taking this issue very seriously and putting in place concrete measures to stop behavior which goes against the spirit of our sport," said Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure.
jh/shs (dpa, AP)