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Russian fan leader banned from opening Confederations Cup match

20 Juin 2017

Federation Internationale de Football Association has for the first time implemented a three-step procedure at the Confederations Cup that allows referees to stop matches in the event of racist or discriminatory incidents.

Still, fans, players, coaches and media were left confused in Sunday's two games by decisions - reached more slowly than expected - by referees taking advice from assistants watching multiple replays.

The Confederations Cup kicked off with host nation Russian Federation opening the World Cup rehearsal tournament against New Zealand.

Russia's midfielder Denis Glushakov (C back) is congratulated after scoring the first goal of the match during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Russian Federation and New Zealand at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint-Petersburg on June 17, 2017.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, speaks before the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017. "But we have to be careful because I don't think people understand this new rule really well".

Four of the ten host cities for the 2018 World Cup have been pressed into action for the Confederations Cup: 2014 Winter Olympic host Sochi, Kazan, the capital, Moscow, and St Petersburg.

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"It's the first time our team has played with this new technology and when we were on the pitch we were very concerned", Vidal said after the match.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has described VAR as "the future of modern football" following criticism of the technology during the Confederations Cup.

World champions Germany and the champions from FIFA's six confederations are competing in the two-week tournament that will allow Russian Federation to test its soccer infrastructure in four of the 11 cities hosting World Cup matches.

The organising committee could not be immediately reached for comment.

Asked about his team's chances in the tournament, he said: "We're confident we can do well". "The main thing is that we took the lead". Referees will be allowed to stop play if they hear or see racist or discriminatory chanting or evidence of abuse during a match, and a public announcement will be made inside the ground. So, matches with them are going to be quite uneasy.

"It underlines how significant it is having New Zealand compete at the FIFA Confederations Cup", said Shaw.