FA to impose minimum five-game bans for discrimination
The Football Association will impose a minimum five-match ban for racist or homophobic abuse by players.The new rule will begin from next season but has been chastised by campaigners as it is only half the length of the ban that UEFA has introduced into European competitions.
The "least serious" offences will carry an "entry level" punishment, with players found guilty of more serious offences facing lengthier bans, the governing body revealed on Thursday.
Any player found guilty of such offences will face mandatory educational programmes, and repeat offenders will have to serve a minimum 10-game suspension.
Clubs who have two or more players found guilty of discrimination in a 12-month period will also have sanctions imposed, and possibly points deductions.
The new rules follow a review of sanctions in the light of high-profile issues, such as John Terry's four-match suspension and Luis Suarez' eight-match ban for racist abuse on the pitch.
"Importantly, today's agreement encompasses all elements of discrimination, not just racial abuse," FA chairman David Bernstein said.
Bernstein also defended the decision not to match UEFA's punishments, saying the five-game ban had been agreed on by all relevant bodies including anti-racism group Kick It Out.
"From our point of view it (10-match ban) has no subtlety to it. It should have subtlety to it," he added.
"Any racism is unacceptable but there are different levels of offence.
"It's also a time issue. We have been through an extensive process and have to get it approved through English football.
"It (UEFA's ban) came in right at the end of the process when we have spent months getting a consensus. But if European football says the line is in the wrong place then we may have to re-evaluate that."