A thoroughly absorbing UCL encounter was played out at Stamford Bridge between Group C rivals Chelsea and AS Roma last night. However, the entertainment on the pitch might regretfully be overshadowed by events in the stands by the behaviour of visiting supporters, .
With the game going into the final minutes, Chelsea and German international Antonio Rudiger, a former Roma player, successfully shielded the ball out of play from opposing striker Stephen El Shaarawy for a goal kick.
The incident occurred right in front of the raucous away fans who then vented their disapproval, at the Blues’ defender, with a chorus of racist chanting. Unfortunately, this unsavoury incident tarnished what was a captivating spectacle.
Since 2001 UEFA has had a strong ‘No to Racism’ message. Over the years they have been able to forge close working relationships with FARE network, with active groups working against intolerance and discrimination across the continent.
With this match receiving live television coverage, through BT Sport, this incident will not go unpunished especially with all the work UEFA has done within the football community with the involvement of high profile players and European clubs pleading their support for the campaign.
The No to Racism message can be witnessed at all high profile games with the wearing of armbands, pennants and banners predominantly displayed to promote respect and tolerance.
La Lupa have previous, back in 2013 the Rome club were forced to close part of their Stadio Olympico – for one Serie A match – due to their fans repeated racial chants about AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli. They were also subsequently fined £42,400.
Moreover, UEFA has revised its disciplinary regulations to include tougher penalties against racism. The measures were aimed to efficiently fight racist behaviour at football matches, in line with UEFA’s zero-tolerance policy.
AS Roma can expect to face retrospective action due to the minority of their own fans’ disappointing behaviour. This nonsensical chanting and complete lack of tolerance has no place in modern day football or society.