NYON: The federations of Poland and Ukraine – where racial abuse of players is feared during the Euro 2012 finals – have been given reassurance by UEFA that there are more heinous crimes in football.
Like, sending out a team late for the second half of a match. After all, that upsets television schedules.
That infringement of competition regulations has just cost Manchester City a fine of €30,000 for delaying the start of the second half of their Europa League third round first leg against Sporting Clube in Lisbon last month.
City have been punished by UEFA’s disciplinary committee for their poor time-keeping after half-time of their 1-0 defeat on March 8 at the Jose Alvalade stadium. City have three days to appeal.
Last week another Portuguese club, Porto, were fined ‘only’ £16,700 by UEFA for their fans’ racial abuse of City players in the same competition in February. City pair Mario Balotelli and Yaya Toure were both subjected to monkey taunts during a last-32 game in Portugal.
City went on to beat Porto 6-1 on aggregate to set up the tie with Sporting which they lost on the away goals rule after winning the second leg ‘only’ 3-2 at Eastlands.
The example sent out by UEFA – and, by extension of course, its president Michel Platini – will hardly encourage individual nations to consider racist abuse of any serious import.
Just as UEFA was punishing City so the Russian Football Union was fining champions Zenit St Petersburg a mere $3,400 for racist chanting by their fans during last Saturday’s domestic league game at Lokomotiv Moscow.
Zenit fans made monkey noises at Lokomotiv’s black players during the match which Zenit won 1-0 to virtually seal their second consecutive league title. They lead CSKA Moscow by 11 points with six games remaining.
Zenit’s fine was small compared with the $17,000 imposed on Spartak Moscow’s Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike last month for his gesture towards Dynamo Moscow fans who racially abused him during a match. Emenike also received a suspended sentence until the end of the season.
In France national team striker Bafetimbi Gomis has claimed he was victim of racial abuse from Ajaccio fans when his Lyon team beat the third division side 4-0 in Tuesday’s cup semi-final.
He was quoted by L’Equipe as saying: “After my goal, I put my hands behind my ears because I had heard monkey noises during the game. I even had a banana thrown at me.”
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