The headline story this Tuesday afternoon surrounds UEFA’s decision to punish Atletico Madrid with a two game ban and a Â£120,000 fine for monkey chants aimed at Marseille’s black players, plus insults directed towards black journalists in the press box, during the Champions League match on October 1st.
According to UEFA’s William Gaillard, “The UEFA president has made it clear that there is zero-tolerance for racist or violent behaviour… UEFA are determined to make a stand on this issue.”
UEFA should calm down. Instead of dancing on the streets of Nyon, talking pompously about how zero-tolerant they are, they should be focusing on the swelling number of cases mounting on a weekly basis. Instead of talking tough, they should be acting tough.
In the past five weeks, there have been six incidents which we have brought to you, evidencing the fact that football violence across Europe is on the rise.
1. On Saturday, Italian ultras showed up their nation in Sofia. (Watch here.)
2. At the start of October, Poland witnessed brutal scenes from violent Wisla Plock fans who travelled to Flota Swinoujscie. (Watch here.)
3. At the end of September, violence broke out in the stands during the Catalan derby, forcing the match to be held up for ten minutes. (Watch here.)
4. On September 18th, in the UEFA Cup match between NEC Nijmegen and Dinamo Bucharest, fans rioted on the terraces. (Watch here.)
5. And during England’s 4-1 win in Zagreb on September 11th, Emile Heskey was subjected to monkey noises from the home crowd.
Coupled with the violence seen during at Atletico Madrid, in the Champions League match with Marseille on October 1st (watch here), it doesn’t take a genius to see that there is much work to do.
The collateral damage from today’s decision is the negative impact the punishment has had on Liverpool fans. With there Champions League match against Atletico scheduled for three weeks time, some 3000 fans have already made their bookings for the match, only to have the venue now changed at the last minute. So instead of the punishment effecting just Atletico, now Scouse fans have also been hit hard in the wallet.
Zero-tolerance. Give me a break!