How long is it going to be before UEFA take some serious action against the racial abuse suffered by black players?
They may have their fancy armbands or their little flags, but until football’s governing body actually decide to stand up and grow a pair, the disgusting chants from a small minded bunch of fans will continue.
Time and time again, the media and players themselves try and summarise the abuse and chanting in an eloquent manner. We list examples, note that it has no place in the modern game and call for UEFA or indeed FIFA to take action.
Time and time again, those pleas fall on deaf ears. Much has been made over the nominal fines handed down from governing bodies after racial chanting from the stands. Despite pleas for more action, nothing much has changed. Perhaps a few more armbands have been handed out, but that’s about all.
This time, Manchester City seem determined not to let it lie. Good for them. The club made their feelings on the noises heard from the crowd during their match at CSKA Moscow crystal clear to UEFA via their delegate straight after the match.
This is also the same club do not forget, who were utterly dismayed at the paltry fine handed out to Porto after Mario Balotelli was subjected to racial abuse. The fine, for anyone who has forgotten was £16,000. The fine, for anyone who has forgotten was £64,000 less than the one handed out to Nicklas Bendtner for wearing Paddy Power sponsored boxer shorts.
Until UEFA actually do something – and by do something that means more than a threat that is never carried out, or a paltry fine – this will just continue. Yes, the sad fact of the matter is that they may not be able to change the opinions of the racist individuals who resort to such chanting, but they can certainly make sure the players are not forced to hear it in stadiums.
FIFA are of course just as culpable, and equally inept at dealing with the issue. That will become a more prominent issue as the World Cup approaches – not in Brazil but in 2018, when it will be hosted by Russia, who of course are home to CSKA Moscow, the offending team from tonight.
A frequent comment after such chants point to the country in which they are made – Eastern European countries are the so called worst offenders – but Spain, Italy and Portugal to name but a few are all just as guilty on occasion. Attitudes have to change – not to mention the reactions of players, supporters, managers and the powers that be.
It pretty much sums it up when CSKA coach Leonid Slutski was quizzed about the chanting after the game – chanting which was clearly audible – and not only saw Arsene Wenger but raised him a million times over by claiming: “What chanting? I didn’t hear anything.”
Where to even begin with that comment? Defending your players is bad enough, but to try and turn a blind eye to such behaviour is disgusting. Ignorance and prejudicial behaviour is how situations like this arise and it cannot be allowed to continue.
This time, it was midfielder Yaya Toure who was the subject of the chants, and he made his feelings clear after the game, quite rightly standing up and stating: “I’m furious. I’m very, very disappointed about what those fans have done today and I think UEFA have to take action because players with the same colour of skin will always be in the same position.”
He also drew attention to the fact that he was wearing the skipper’s armband – which in a case of irony at its finest, bore the slogan ‘no to racism.’ Again, UEFA manage to show that all the little tokens in the world will pale into insignificance if they cannot actually back it up.
Vincent Kompany, who missed the game through injury, took to twitter to express his disappointment at the situation and tweeted: ‘Racist chants again in Moscow today.. We’ve all said enough. @UEFAcom, @GovernmentRF, CSKA, all eyes are on you now.. #StopRacism’
The sport’s most articulate player had it spot on again. We have all said enough. Now is the time for action. Pussyfooting around the issue has gotten nowhere. Yes, Uefa and FIFA have started the ball rolling but more has to be done.
Articles like this should not be dominating the back pages. They should not even have to be written. So come on UEFA, for once in your existence, take some meaningful action, before the players do it for you and leave the field.
Is walking off the field becoming the only step left? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.