SO UEFA have fined Nico Bendtner 80k and a one match suspension for showing his pants in a celebration after scoring against Portugal in EURO 2012.
Compare this to the 65k fine dished out to the Croatian Football Federation for “racist chanting and improper conduct” after the chants aimed at Mario Ballotelli, and the throwing of bananas and fireworks onto the pitch during the Croatia V Italy match, and has even included the right of appeal within 3 days. Unbelievable.
So much for FIFA and UEFA making a stand against racism and unacceptable behaviour then eh?. More lunacy from Messrs Blatter, Platini et al.
So how does UEFA expect to be taken seriously, when it sends a message that showing a sponsors name during a match is a worse crime than racial abuse and throwing bananas onto the pitch?
The fact that Croatia are once again being investigated for EXACTLY the same thing, racist abuse and throwing fireworks onto the pitch during the Spain game, should go to prove that UEFA are being too lenient on them.
Whilst I don’t think the team should be punished for the fans crimes, a situation which is beyond their control, I do think the CFF (Croatian Football Federation) could do a lot more to prevent it, and therefore in light of the fact it is their second charge, be meted with a lot harsher sentence. FINES are not cutting the mustard. they need either to be banned from future competitions, or forced to play their games behind closed doors for a set period of time, as I believe happened to Turkey for the same reasons.
I would of course also welcome hard-line sentences, like banning from future competition, as I firmly believe this would set the right tone with regards to FIFA and UEFA’s stance against racism, i think they need to crack down on it, perhaps with overly harsh sentences to set the standard and make themselves clear, whilst im not advocating making an example out of Croatia, I am advocating harsher punishments, but this will only work if harsh punishments are dished out to ALL who break the rules, rather than a select few, to make an example of them.
UEFA need to be consistent, something which they have not been in recent years, and a lot could be learned from other games, for example Rugby Union, as respect is ingrained in Rugby Union, both to players and fans. In Rugby Union, all referees are called “Sir” and only the captain of the team may talk directly to the referee, EX. if a player has a concern, the captain has to speak to the referee FOR the player. Also, the technology debate, goal-line technology, and video replays. The need for goal-line technology has certainly reached its climax, with even Sepp Blatter coming out and saying it is now a “necessity”. As for the video replays, it is something which has been used successfully in Rugby Union now for years, and could well be the answer to a lot of footballs bad refereeing problems. Highlighted most notably by Graham Poll giving the same player 3 yellow cards.
But I digress, UEFA and FIFA need to punish the clubs who break the “Respect” code, and offer incentives for them not to do so. Punishing them retrospectively is a bit like closing the door after the horse has bolted. Rather than punish the clubs, they need to make sure it doesn’t happen in the first instance. This will only be achieved if they take a hard line if it happens.