It seems to be a broken record with UEFA. They claim to be tough in dealing with racism. Unfortunately it seems not the case. Following the banner unveiled in the Partizan v Spurs match, UEFA handed out their punishment. Was it a heavy fine? lengthy stadium ban? No unfortunately UEFA handed Partizan Belgrade a fine of 40,000 euros and the closure of Sector K against Besiktas this month. As well as the banner, the Partizan fans were investigated for three other offences. These offences had included setting off of fireworks, invading the pitch and pointing a laser pen.
A UEFA statement released stated:
“The fight against racism is a high priority for UEFA. The European governing body has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and discrimination on the field and in the stand”
Adding to the statement UEFA stated:
“All forms of racist behaviour are considered serious offences against the disciplinary regulations and are punished with the most severe sanctions”
“Following the entry into force of new disciplinary regulations in June 2013, the fight against racist conduct has been stepped up a level – resulting in stricter penalties to deter any such behaviour”.
Now I don’t mean to come across as cynical, but since when did a 40,000 euro fine a sector ban for Partizan’s next European home game, be a result of tough new stricter penalties. They need to be tougher. A fine and partial ban is hardly going to deter fans from causing anymore problems.
Of course it’s not the first offence that Partizan fans have been involved in trouble. In 2007/08 Partizan were disqualified from further competition. Surely given the fact that Partizan have history, tougher punishment for the club should have been handed out. I guess nothing should surprise us anymore when it comes to UEFA and their inability to handout a substantial punishment.
The idea of 40,000 euros being a reasonable fine is just in fact a complete joke when Niklas Bendtner was fined at Euro 2012 a sum of £100,000 and a match ban for revealing some branded underwear. How on earth can UEFA be taken seriously on racism when they hand out bigger fines for what is in contrast a trivial issue.
I feel until UEFA take the option of banning a nation, like they did to England after the Heysel Tragedy, then whatever they do, whatever they try to do or say should be taken with a pinch of salt because until then, no fans will have faith in the organisation to deal with the issue that hounds the game across the globe.