CONMEBOL pledges to beef up sanctions for racist incidents

SAO PAULO (AP) — CONMEBOL will beef up sanctions for clubs and fans who are involved in racist incidents during its matches, without disclosing more details.

The move on Friday followed several cases in different countries during the Copa Libertadores this year.

Fans of Argentine giants River Plate, Boca Juniors and Estudiantes de La Plata, Paraguay’s Olimpia, Colombia’s Millionarios and Chile’s Universidad Catolica have used racial slurs against supporters of Brazilian rivals.

“CONMEBOL will push for changes in regulations so penalties in racism cases are bigger and harsher,” the South American soccer body said.

It added that clubs have better means to identify racists and sanction them with resolve.

“We are committed to designing and implementing new programs and actions to remove this problem from South American soccer forever,” it said.

All clubs involved have criticized racist fans on social media, and forbid those who were identified from attending their matches.

One fan filmed performing monkey chants, a visiting Boca fan in Sao Paulo, was escorted to a police station, paid a fine and left Brazil less than 24 hours after the incident. Corinthians striker Willian used social media to protest against the leniency, and many other footballers followed.

CONMEBOL regulations set a fine of at least $30,000 for clubs whose fans take part in racist incidents. This year, Olimpia had to pay $45,000 for that reason during a pre-Copa Libertadores playoff against Fluminense.

Ednaldo Rodrigues, the first Black man to chair the Brazilian Football Confederation, said in a video published on social media that he and CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez are discussing the issue and will press other national soccer bodies to beef up sanctions regarding racism too.

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