FIFA is reinforcing its fight against discrimination in football with the introduction of a new anti-discrimination monitoring system for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers. The system includes the deployment of Anti-Discrimination Match Observers to monitor and report issues of discrimination at the games. It will be coordinated by FIFA and implemented in collaboration with the Fare network, an organisation with long experience in the fight against discrimination in football and the deployment of match observers.

The new measure is a key step in FIFA’s ongoing fight against discrimination and follows on from the recommendations of the FIFA Task Force against Racism and Discrimination. It will facilitate and complete the work of FIFA referees and disciplinary bodies. The main objective is to optimise legal procedures by providing much needed evidence leading to potential sanctions.

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. After every monitored match, the Match Observer will provide a report within 24 hours to FIFA’s disciplinary body, which will analyse the information and decide on the potential opening of disciplinary proceedings.

“I’m very happy to see this programme taking shape and being rolled out first for the 2018 qualifiers. The FIFA Congress passed a strong resolution against discrimination in 2013 and we created a dedicated Task Force. 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,” said FIFA President Blatter.

“The introduction of match observers was one of the key recommendations of our Task Force in order to tackle discriminatory incidents in football. With this new system we are providing our disciplinary bodies with the tools they urgently need to effectively combat racism and discrimination in our sport,” said the chairman of the FIFA Task Force and FIFA Vice-President Jeffrey Webb.

“This collaboration between FIFA and the Fare network marks a milestone in the fight against discrimination in football. We are bringing our experience and know-how in identifying matchday issues and will work with leading experts across the world to ensure that football’s flagship event shows that football does not have to be associated with issues of discrimination or exclusion,” said the Fare network’s Executive Director Piara Powar.

The new monitoring system was officially presented today in an event at Wembley Stadium in London in the presence of FIFA’s Head of Sustainability Federico Addiechi, Fare’s Executive Director and member of the FIFA Task Force Piara Powar, former FIFA referee and member of the Task Force Howard Webb, Manchester City and Ivory Coast midfielder and consultant to the Task Force Yaya Toure and chair of The FA’s Inclusion Advisory Board and consultant to the Task Force Heather Rabbatts.

“I’m very satisfied to see that FIFA is taking this issue very seriously and putting in place concrete measures to stop behaviour which goes against the spirit of our sport,” said Toure.

The Match Observers programme is just one of the measures that FIFA is currently developing to step up the fight against any form of discrimination in football. Besides the reinforcement of controls and sanctions, education is another key pillar of the strategy that has been put in place following the Resolution on the Fight against Racism and Discrimination by the 63rd FIFA Congress in 2013. In addition, FIFA will soon publish a Good Practice Guide on Diversity and Anti-Discrimination to support all its member associations in their efforts to tackle discrimination.