Nobody should be fooled that the European footballing body is making any genuine efforts to protect black players and remove racism from the game. They are just paying lip service to it. Giving so little in order to give an impression they are working hard.
The most laughable attempt is their three-step protocol on how to deal with racist behaviour in the stadium during a match. The first step would be for a player who has been racially abused by fans to report to his captain who will then inform the referee, the referee will inform the stadium announcer to announce to the fans to stop the attacks. If the attacks continue, the referee will then halt the game for a few minutes so he can speak to officials of both teams. If the previous two steps didn’t stop the attacks the referee will then halt the game again and speak to the officials and if they all agree, he will stop the game completely.
I honestly wonder how this is expected to hurt the racist fans, I wonder how it is expected to make them stop future attacks. I actually believe this will encourage them to do it more often and more cleverly. For instance, if fans notice that their team is up for proper hiding if they are already losing by two or more goals in the first half and they feel a big humiliation is coming, all they need to do is make sure the game is abandoned. So instead of them losing 8-0, they get the game cancelled and the winning team is awarded three points and three goals, better than 8-0 or 10-0.
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On another part, if the winning team needs more goals difference and they see an opportunity to increase it in a particular game, the manager and the captain may persuade the racially abused players to take one for the team and make sure the game continues. Where does this leave the players under attack emotionally and psychologically?
The abused players may have no other option than to leave the pitch and say they can’t continue playing. The danger here is that they could then end up as being the party to be punished by UEFA, for walking off the pitch while a game was in progress. Also, if a player is not a regular first-teamer, he may be reluctant to walk off because that may cost him his place in the team, either way, the racists win again.
If UEFA and indeed, FIFA, truly and honestly want to curb the game of racism, they need to take stronger actions. In a sport where a player earns an average of £50,000 a week, fining a whole country’s football association £30,000 because their fans racially abused another country’s players is completely useless and it serves no purpose.
The bodies should make sure they order associations to give life bans to anyone caught with racist behaviour and if the associations fail to do this, they should be expelled from the competition completely. If they can’t control their fans, if their fans want to continue to behave like animals, let them stay in their homes and shout their abuses at their television sets while decent people engage in meaningful football competitions.
Enough of all the ugliness, after all, football is called the beautiful game.