UEFA's priorities euro 2012: Pants!

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Before the start of Euro 2012, UEFA pledged zero-tolerance of racism and said the tournament would be a legacy to addressing racism issues. However, its decision to fine Croatia less for monkey chants at Matio Balotelli than Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner for displaying a sponsored pair of underwear has been met with criticism of how it prioritises public racial discrimination against what seems a fairly innocuous rule-break.

The Croatian Football Federation HNS was fined £65,000 for offences which included the racist abuse of the Italian striker by between 300 and 500 of the country's fans during the game in Poznan on Thursday, which was also dogged by accusations that a banana had been thrown on to the field.

Though one of the largest fines ever imposed for racism-related incidents by European football's governing body, it is still significantly smaller than Bendtner's which came in at £80,000 with a one-match ban. With larger differences comparing with previous high-profile sanctions for racism over the years: £45,000 to Spain in 2004, £16,500 to Serbia in 2007 and £10,000 to Croatia in 2008, Bendtner's large fine has led to many questioning the judgment against Croatia, particularly since it included a punishment relating to the setting-off and throwing of fireworks as well as the racist behaviour of supporters.

The day before the decision was made Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany called on UEFA to "review their priorities", while Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand tweeted:

UEFA are you for real? £80,000 fine for Bendtner. All of the racism fines together don't even add up to that?!

He said,

UEFA are not serious,

[The president] Platini was a great player but him and his colleagues alienate themselves with exactly this type of rubbish.

Kompany agreed, tweeting:

UEFA might need to review their order of priorities, don't you think?

Surely if you were a sponsor, you would consider racism as a more dangerous association than the damage caused by commercial opportunism?

Since then UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the German Football Association DFB charged over the "improper conduct" of fans after observers from anti-discrimination group Fare reported seeing a neo-Nazi banner in the Germany section during the match between Germany and Denmark in Lviv on Sunday 17 June. And the Football Union of Russia RFS were last week issued with a suspended six-point deduction for their Euro 2016 campaign over the behaviour of their fans in Poland and Ukraine, which included the display of extremist banners.

Platini said on Monday that he was dismayed by Croatia's supporters and a UEFA spokesman said

It is up to the disciplinary committee to decide on the sanctions (in each individual case) and the written reasons (for Bendtner's punishment) are being sent to the Danish FA.

The author asks why this disciplinary committee fined Bendtner so much more than hundreds of fans' racist chanting and display of symbols for doing what footballers do all the time- advertise their sponsors.

Berny Torre

Archived Comments

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Good article

Nicely written article - really abysmal that UEFA keep on getting it wrong and fail to give racism the red card.

UEFA and racism

I may be getting too cynical but maybe UEFA's response to Nicklas Bendtner's "offence" has more to do with keeping their own sponsors happy than any sense of morality in relation to racism. I bet that they have a strict agreement with their sponsors that they will prevent ambush advertising. So they were protecting their wallets when they acted as they did. Sadly I guess it betrays their true priority: their income.

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