After last night’s incident involving racial abuse directed at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure, are football’s governing bodies doing the right thing in terms of eliminating racial abuse and behaviour from the beautiful game?
If such incident had happened in England, there would be mass uproar. Such racist incidents are now few and far between, thankfully, and credit must go to the FA and campaigns such as “Kick It Out”, who have done well to combat a problem that was widespread in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
However, such incidents in Russia are common. Anzhi, Zenit St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow have all been involved in high-profile racist incidents in the last 12 months. Zenit St.Petersburg, for example, had a section of fans demand that the club never sign a black player again, as they “wouldn’t be worthy of wearing the club’s shirt”.
Are UEFA doing enough to combat this problem, therefore? Well, despite their “Say No To Racism” campaign, racist incidents are still getting off lightly in comparison to other incidents. For example, during Euro 2012, the fine given to Nicolas Bendtner for displaying underpants with a sponsor on was double the fine given to four countries for racist chanting. Such example highlights that UEFA are perhaps too lenient with racist abuse, and hence why it still continues.
My suggestion would be that the correct way forward, in order to combat such abuse, is to impose harsher penalties on the offending teams. At the moment, one racist chanting or abuse incident leads to a partial stadium closure, with two incidents leading to a game being played behind closed doors, and a fine of just over £45,000. Now, this fine is very mediocre, especially for the larger teams, as such fine is small in comparison to the money the club would receive through television deals, sponsorship, and prize money from UEFA.
Personally, I would like to see much larger fines, or points deductions, as a penalty for racist chanting. Points deductions would hit the club harder than fines, and as a result may eliminate the incidents that still occur in the modern game, such as the Yaya Toure incident from last night.