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Is Uefa upping its game on racism and match fixing? Let’s hope so.

By Tony Attwood

You may recall that in the dark gloomy days when we hadn’t bought a player for over £40m and the AAA were suggesting that we were about to get thrown out of the Champions League before it had even started, we had a little matter of a game in Turkey.

I wrote a little piece prior to that looking the legal process that was surrounding Metalist Kharkiv, and Fenerbahce both of whom were up before the beak for match fixing and the like and either of whom we could have been drawn against.

Because Arsenal did what they always do, and won both qualifying round games, we had no need to think about the legal case against Fenerbahce, but UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body has made its decisions following the various hearings.

Fenerbahce have been excluded from European competition for the next two years after losing an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport  against the Uefa decision on match-fixing.  So having slipped out of the Champs League they can’t even play in the Europa League.

Actually it is bad news all round in Turkey as Beşiktaş JK has also been told it is not eligible to participate in the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League either.

Metalist Kharkiv’s appeal against a one season ban from Uefa’s club competitions for match fixing were upheld by the Court.

Uefa did its bit to welcome the decisions by saying, “Uefa welcomes the decisions of the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejecting the appeals made by Fenerbahce SK and FC Metalist Kharkiv against the Uefa Appeals Body decisions of 15 July 2013 and 14 August 2013 respectively.

Meanwhile other decisions have been popping up.  Following FK Vojvodina v Budapest Honvéd FC, in the Europa League second qualifying round, Honvéd have been charged over the improper conduct of supporters, racist behaviour and racist chanting.  Honved have to play their next home game behind closed doors.

The Control and Disciplinary Body has also decided to enforce the suspended sanction against Honvéd, from 22 August 2008, of playing one UEFA competition match behind closed doors, and so Honvéd now have to play one additional fixture as host club behind closed doors. They have also been fined €50,000.

In the case of KKS Lech Poznań v VMFD Žalgiris, again in the Europa League Lech Poznań have been charged over the improper conduct of supporters re racist behaviour and display of a racist banner. There will be a partial closure of Lech’s stadium – the stand containing the Polish side’s Ultras – during their next UEFA competition match as hosts. Lech have also been fined €5,000.

GKS Piast Gliwice v Qarabağ FK, UEFA once more in the Europa League second resulted in Piast being charged with the improper conduct of supporters over a racist behaviour and display of a racist banner. There will be a partial closure of Piast’s stadium, covering the Polish side’s Ultras, during their next UEFA competition match as hosts. Piast have also been fined €5,000.

The fines are pathetic, but the playing of a match behind closed doors is at least a step in the right direction.

If they continue to move in this way over match fixing and racism maybe the game might be cleaned up, but still, there is an awfully long way to go.

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5 comments to Is Uefa upping its game on racism and match fixing? Let’s hope so.

  • ScotchEggsRule

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up Tony. UEFA, kicking the little guy since time began. Let’s see how they react to the larger teams when their fans misbehave or the directors hand off brown envelopes to match officials. They’ve still fined Nicholas Bendtner more for his advertising faux pa than the last 3 teams to have been done for racist chanting, combined!!

  • AL

    Agree with the last line in this article Tony, still a very long way to go. They should impose huge fines on racism related offences, like making the offending clubs play their home games a whole season behind closed doors. They need to send a strong message that this will not be tolerated, but like Scotch pointed out in the Bendtner case, they view ambush marketing a more serious offence than racist chanting.

  • ScotchEggsRule,

    Totally agree with you. The punishment meted out Bendtner is extreme to say the least, especially compared with other more serious offences committed regularly in the game.

    I guess they were sending the message that they were not going to tolerate anyone competing with them for advertising resources in the game. It’s always about the money.

  • Yes, I know, clutching at straws, but still it is one tiny step in the right direction.

  • rantetta

    Was there any follow-up to “Euro-racists” v England under 21’s, where, if memory serves, the England players seemed to be ‘charged’ as seriously as the “Euro-racists”. Sorry, I can’t remember which national team it was, but I know they done that sort of stuff before.

    As you say, Tony, “there is an awfully long way to go”.

    Boy, innit, like!