In a year where racism in football has reared its ugly head, with the Luis Suarez and John Terry cases, along with the recent racist abuse England under 21 players received in Serbia, you have to question whether Uefa are doing enough to prevent these acts of racism from occurring on a regular basis.
The main issue many people bring up is that Uefa’s fines that are handed out for racism do not fit the crime.
Just to give you an idea of fines handed out in the last two years, The Bulgarian FA were fined £34,230 when their fans aimed monkey chants at several England players including Ashley Cole and Theo Walcott. Furthermore, in April 2012 Porto were fined just £16,700 for racist abuse aimed at Mario Balotelli and just two months ago, Lazio were fined £32,500 for loud monkey chanting aimed at Tottenham players that included Jermain Defoe and Aaron Lennon.
All these fines are relatively small for the size of the clubs and corporations that run the game we all love in various countries. Do they just see it as taking the fine and not doing anything about it, whereas a larger fine and tougher sanctions such as bans from competitions, could lead to these clubs actually educating fans, instead of turning a blind eye to it. In a nutshell, Uefa should be doing more.
Another sense of outrage is other fines that are handed out by Uefa are regularly higher than fines for racism.
Bringing your attention to the Euro 2012 Championships held in Ukraine and Poland in the Summer of this year, Russia and Spain were handed a combined fine of £40,335 for racially abusing at Czech Republic defender.
However in the same tournament, Nicklas Bendtner, a striker for Denmark, scored a goal for his team and revealed branded Paddy Power pants (see image below) and was fined £80,000 by Uefa for unauthorised sponsorship
Am I the only one who does not see the logic in this? How can it be right for a globally known footballing organisation to take a harder stance with unauthorised sponsorship then with racism?
It doesn’t just end here, this has been a regular trend for years. A few examples of this are:
• In June 2009, Chelsea were fined £85,000 for failure to control its players and fans.
• In March 2012, Arsenal were fined £33,000 for confronting a match referee
• In April 2012, Manchester City were fined £24,740 for delaying the second half of a match
From the facts, you would assume that Uefa are not doing enough to combat racism, especially when fines are more than double the fines for racism for other misdemeanours.
Is this ethically right by Uefa? Should they be looking to educate fans and players about racism instead of handing out shamefully low fines? Or should they take a harder stance and ban these clubs from entering competitions if they are racist?
I would love to hear your views on the matter as I think it is one that needs to be addressed by Uefa as the situation is becoming farcical.
By Daniel Lifton