Sports fans face fines of up to $272,000 for unruly behaviour, including racist insults, at sporting events in the UAE under new laws.
Corruption within sporting organisations and using events for political gain also now attract harsher penalties after a decision to include them under criminal law rather than sports bodies’ codes of conduct, The National reported.
Corruption in sport has drawn international attention in recent years, particularly amid multiple investigations into football’s world governing body FIFA.
Last week, the organisation’s suspended president Sepp Blatter and the head of football in Europe, Michel Platini, were banned from the game for eight years. Both men were cleared of corruption charges but found guilty of a series of other breaches including a conflict of interest and dereliction of duty over a $2 million “disloyal payment” from Blatter to Platini in 2011.
There also have been allegations of corruption during Qatar’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The country’s World Cup organising committee has denied all allegations.
UAE prosecutor Hassan Al Hammadi said other crimes such as theft also would attract tougher penalties if carried out at a sporting event.
“So if one steals at the Formula One race, because the crime was committed during a sports event they will face more stringent punishment than if they stole at any other place,” he was quoted as saying by The National.
The UAE state also is considering establishing a dedicated sports court.
The Gulf state has attracted numerous international sporting competitions from tennis to golf, Formula One, cricket and even darts.
Its new sporting law appears to be supported by the most significant international bodies. That contrasts to Kuwait’s new sports law, which has seen it banned from various international sports including the Olympics, athletics and FIFA, over concerns of government interference in the election of sporting bodies’ boards.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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