Serbia’s racism punishment: A joke!


UEFA have sent a clear message to Europe’s footballing nations about how it regards rampant, rabid racism: It doesn’t give a damn.

Yesterday Europe’s governing body penalised the Serbian FA with a paltry fine of 65k Euros. The only way you can effectively put this into perspective is when you judge how one individual, Danish international star Nicklas Bendtner, was punished for contravening UEFA rules.

Bendtner was find 80k Euros for showing ad sponsor on his underwear during a European game. In shocking contrast, the Serbian FA were punished with a minuscule fine of 65k Euros for their 30,000 fans spewing racist taunts towards English Black players. A rough calculation indicates that each person was find 2.5 Euros for their rabid racism whilst on one man was fined 80k Euros for an innocuous offence.

To add insult to injury, those Black players were who reacted to the racist maelstrom, found themselves severely punished by a two match ban by UEFA.

Commenting about the way UEFA have dealt with the case Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand stated:

UEFA are not serious at all on racism. Fines do not work at all. They have zero impact on federations/clubs/fans/players. UEFA need to talk to this generation.....they don’t seem to be up to date on this issue?? Harsh punishments needed as a deterrent.”

There are no calls for UEFA boss Michel Platini to step down as its chair. Clearly, he has no intention of dealing with this level of race hatred at football matches. Given that the abuse was so prolonged and so clear, Platini could have banned Serbia for a year from international football. This type of punishment makes clear that football cannot itself force countries to adopt different ways but if they seek to be part of the international football community it will not be tolerated under the UEFA umbrella.

Closer to home, the English FA should say that it refuses to play in those countries where players cannot be protected from racial and physical abuse.

Simon Woolley