Has UEFA failed to control racism? Kick It Out opines
England were the victims of racial abuse from Bulgarian fans during their Euro 2020 Qualifiers clash against Bulgaria at the Vasil Levski National Stadium on Monday. Meanwhile, Kick It Out, one of the leading anti-racism campaigners, has criticized UEFA for its handling of the situation. Besides, it has slammed UEFA's previous punishments for the same. Here's more on it.
Bulgarian fans ejected following racist chants against England
As England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0 in the tie, the match saw controversy right from the beginning. The play was halted twice in the first half a section of the crowd form a stand was extremely vocal and continuously abused the English players racially, with the match seemingly set to be abandoned. However, England proceeded with the match after the section was ejected out.
KIO sickened by Bulgaria's abuse
KIO released a statement expressing its sadness over the incident and termed the actions by the Bulgarian fans as sickening and disgusting, as the fans displayed Nazi salutes and monkey noises. "We applaud Gareth Southgate, his staff and players for the actions taken in reporting the abhorrent abuse, and offer our support to the entire squad, their families and anyone affected," it stated.
KIO questions UEFA's decision of breaching Step Two racism protocol
"We are encouraged that the protocol was initially enforced by the match officials, but UEFA must explain why players weren't sent to the dressing room during Step Two, as is clearly stated in the rules?" questioned KIO.
KIO wonders why the match wasn't called off
Pressing further on the issue, KIO mentioned that as per TV replays, racist chants continued even in the second half after a section of the fans had been ejected, and the match should have been called off. "It's now time for UEFA to step up and show some leadership. For far too long, they have consistently failed to take effective action," KIO pressed further.
What is UEFA's three-step racism protocol?
As per UEFA guidelines, the following three-step protocol is to be followed in case of racial abuse during a match: The first protocol involves an official announcement, via the PA system, inside the stadium, upon the referee's request. The second protocol involves another announcement, with this time the abusive crowd section being cleared. The final protocol involves the match to be abandoned.
UEFA's sanctions are not fit for purpose: KIO
KIO went on to say that the sanctions imposed by UEFA serve no purpose and called for harsher sanctions, other than pitiful fines or small stadium bans. "If UEFA care at all about tackling discrimination - and if the Equal Game campaign means anything - then points deductions and tournament expulsion must follow," KIO asserted.
KIO demands tournament expulsion for racial abuse
Should UEFA impose harsher punishments to control racism?
Following the incident involving England and Bulgaria on Monday, KIO has raised a valid issue that the current UEFA racism protocol is of no effect. Thus, the author agrees with KIO's claim that harsher punishment should be put in place, as expulsion or suspension of the team from a tournament could actually help in curbing the issue.