By Tony Attwood
Fifa demands forfeit for teams with racist fans after ‘abhorrent’ incidents, shouts the headline in the Guardian
And yes it seems to me that clubs do need to be held responsible for the behaviour of their fans within the confines and surrounds of the ground. But that is not the end of the matter.
For what about Uefa’s responsibility for the total cock ups at the last two Champions League finals. The most famous one was the Paris match in 2022. But as reported by Goal following the report in The Independent, fans “have reported that they were left using shuttle buses that took up to three hours to reach the Ataturk Stadium, with no water or toilets, leading to some fans vomiting, while only 20 lavatories were made available in fan zones serving over 20,000 supporters.”
Why were Uefa not stripped of its right to host matches after those events? Put another way, why can only fans be blamed?
Or what about the Euro 2020 match at Wembley? That was under the auspices of the FA and Uefa. Surely they should both be stripped of their rights to host matches after they allowed such chaos to occur. And the argument there that it was not Uefa’s fault or the FA’s fault that all these people without tickets turned up, – an argument that can only be seen as reasonable if it is never the fault of the organisers if there is any type of problem. So then it is not the clubs’ fault if there is racist chanting in the crowd.
Yet the fact is that this argument is never heard both ways. No matter how bad the arrangements made for a match it can never be the fault of the competition organiser. But no matter how stupid the organisers have been anything that goes wrong must be the fault of the fans.
So as a result of this thinking I can get punished for something I haven’t done. But still the FA, Uefa and Fifa NEVER get punished for disasters they have created. How is that possibly fair, or reasonable or right?
The answer quite simply is that FIfa and Uefa and the FA deny responsibility for anything and everything, and get away with it because they hand out free entry to big games to journalists. Journalists don’t want to be banned so they never criticise the FA, Fifa or Uefa.
Now the argument that Uefa and Fifa make is that it is not their fault, because they award the game to a governing body, and it is up to that organisation to get things right.
But there are two answers to this. Uefa and Fifa have a duty to ensure that they themselves, and those they subctract to can get things right and will get things right, so they are still responsible.
And if we are talking about fairness where is the fairness for me, if a small group of people engage in bad behaviour and then the whole ground gets shut?
The fact is this whole debate is back to front. The first people who should be punished are the organisers. That would make the organisers put in place sufficient arrangements to make everything work properly.
Are the Turkish club being punished because there was no water at the Champions League Final? Have the FA been punished for the disaster at Wembley which was entirely foreseeable and preventable?
Quite simply if the clubs had their wits about them they would demand that the organisations running football should be wound up and replaced by bodies that have the ability to do their job properly, rather than allowing blame always to be placed upon the fans.
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