PLAYERS who racially abuse an opponent face being banned from Scottish football for up to a year under strict new disciplinary measures which are set to be introduced by the SFA.

The move is a direct response by the governing body to Glen Kamara of Rangers being targeted by Ondrej Kudela of Slavia Prague in a Europa League last 16 match at Ibrox back in March.

Czech Republic internationalist Kudela was subsequently hit with a 10 match ban by UEFA – a punishment which meant he missed the Euro 2020 finals during the summer.

However, the SFA - who held a virtual summit with key stakeholders in the Scottish game, including prominent players, in the wake of the Kamara incident - have also taken steps to increase their sanctions.

SFA diversity and inclusion manager David McCardle believes the tough new measures will act as a powerful deterrent and sent out a strong message that such behaviour will not be tolerated in this country. 

“We have made a vast amount of changes to the game from the anti-racism summits we had after the Glen Kamara incident,” he said. “Our anti-discrimination action plan has just been signed off by the board.

“There are something like 40 different actions that we are looking to input. That kicked off from the Glen Kamara incident and the summits we held back in March, April time.”

McCardle added: “Part of it was to look at the rules around discrimination on the football pitch. The rules are going to increase. We are about to finalise that.

“The ban for somebody who uses homophobic or racist abuse on the football pitch in the senior levels of the game is going to increase quite significantly through that.

“We have basically said the ban for somebody who uses racist or homophobic language will be a minimum of 10 games, unless there are vast mitigating circumstances. But it is up to a year.

“Across the whole of Europe, that is one of the strictest penalties. It is massive. It sets the tone for what we believe in Scottish football.”

Jordan Allison, campaign manager at Show Racism the Red Card, the anti-racism and education charity which is holding a series of events in October to raise awareness of what their research shows is a growing problem in football, has welcomed the move. 

“If you look at where the Scottish FA were years ago and where they are now, you can see they are making progress,” he said.

“The plans they have got in place just now are encouraging. They have listened to Show Racism the Red Card. They have listened to black players. Because of that, they are planning to increase the maximum ban for racist abuse. They have jurisdiction over players.

“They are going to increase it to maximum of a year. That will be bigger than England, it will be bigger than Wales. That is what they have got planned. We want to see it done as quickly as possible. So do ordinary players.”