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CONCACAF referees get OK to abandon matches over racist behavior

Soccer referees in North America, Central America and the Caribbean have been instructed to follow the lead of European officials and stop matches if they hear racist chants or insults.

CONCACAF, the regional governing body for the confederation that includes Mexico and the U.S., said Monday that its executive committee adopted the policy in an attempt to stamp out racism in the sport.

"The procedure outlines a clear and precise approach of zero tolerance for racist or discriminatory incidents that may arise during matches," Jeffrey Webb, CONCACAF's president, told the Associated Press.

Webb is also a vice president for FIFA, world soccer's governing body.

According to the CONCACAF protocol, referees should stop games and order a public-address announcement calling for the racist behavior to cease. If racist behavior, which includes the display of banners with racist messages, continues, the referees should suspend the match for up to 10 minutes, sending both teams to their respective locker rooms while a second PA message is read.

As a third step, which CONCACAF calls "a very last resort," referees can then abandon the match.

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