By Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw
As a footnote to the GSLTR website post by Jonathan Copping of 28 October 2019, in which he argued for more action by football authorities, in the form of more deterrent penalties, to kick racism out of the beautiful game, citing racism at the Bulgaria England Euro 2020 qualifying match on 14 October 2019, for which UEFA has now handed down the punishment.
This has been described as “measly”.
UEFA imposed a two-match stadium ban, and a fine of €75,000 (£64,641).
The charity, ‘Kick it Out’, that campaigns against racism is football, are “disheartened, but not surprised” by this outcome and consider that UEFA in this case “have missed an opportunity to send an uncompromising message on racism and discrimination.”
‘Kick it Out’ has added that the “current sanctions, however ‘tough’ UEFA think they may be, are clearly not working and leave victims with little faith in their ability to prevent abusive behaviour.” And has called for the entire overhaul of the UEFA disciplinary process on racism in football.
Gareth Southgate, the England National Team Manager, has also weighed in on the debate and has called for sanctions to increase – in his words “to get higher and higher” – in order to eradicate racism from football.
In other words, and to apply the old adage, the football authorities need “to make the punishment fit the crime!”
For, as Gianni Infantino, the President of FIFA, the world governing body of football, has rightly said: “racism has no place in football!”
All very well, but, again, to use another well-known adage: “actions speak louder than words!”
Prof Dr Ian Blackshaw may be contacted by e-mail at ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’