In a decision sounding very much like something the world soccer organization (FIFA) would come up with, the maximum body of Costa Rican soccer, the Federación Costarricense de Fútbol (Fedefutbol) , has decreed that First Division fans can lose their team its place in the First Division through shouting racial slurs at opposing players.
The question came up (La Nacion Tackles Racism Head on) early this year but raised an ugly head again last Sunday when Cartago fans revived the odious practice against Waylon Francis of Heredia. Fedefutbol president Eduardo Li and general secretary Rafael Vargas had enough, and the board imposed five possible sanctions.
The penalty starts with a ¢500.000 colones (US$1.000) fine, then continues with the club having to play is next home match to a closed stadium (thereby losing gate receipts.) A club can also lose six points in its standing in the national championship.
For really severe or repeated infractions a club may be passed on to what baseball would call the “bush leagues,” the lower division, the winners of such ascend to the First Division. Finally, the offending club can be expelled completely from all formal competition, which would mean disbanding it entirely.
Fedefutbol explained that a club can be exonerated “if the only time the club has been sanctioned, it shows exercise of immediate measures to stop the infractions. The insults hurled by Saprissa fans against Puntarenas goalie Victor Bolivar raised the red fag to Fedfutbol earlier but those hurled at Francis were the last straw.
Comment: Notifying the offending fans may be a problem. Although notification of the new Fedefutbol rules appear in all Spanish language newspapers, we are not sure that many of the brain dead who would yell racial insults in this country can read.