Numerous instances of blatant racist abuse, on the pitch and in the stands, have finally spurred UEFA to take proper steps to curb the vile behavior from both fans and players.
Players will be subject to a minimum 10-match ban from any UEFA competition, including the Champions League, Europa Cup and the European Championship, for a first offense. Stadiums will be subject to a partial closure after a first instance of racist chanting or behavior and a full closing plus a minimum fine of 50,000 euros after that.
The measures are expected to pass in May, and UEFA will encourage domestic leagues to adopt similar policies. It's a major step up for UEFA, whose previous policies include handshakes, yellow cards, and "Kick It Out" anti-racism t-shirts.
This should virtually eliminate racist abuse from players because instances of racial abuse are rare on the big stages UEFA promotes. It remains to be seen how these measures will affect the mob-like fans who tend to lead the abuse in the stands. Sometimes, more chaos – in terms of closing a stadium – is what they're after. Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine already had to play behind closed doors after chanting became an issue. It didn't teach Italian fans a lesson, as issues continue to arise. The best way to eliminate this problem is to take away points from the team, but I'm sure teams would throw a fit knowing their fate may be tied to drunken chanting.
However effective these measures turn out to be, UEFA has made much-needed progress by attempting to establish standards. If domestic leagues follow suit, the game stands a chance of eliminating this problem.