Racism in football has always been a problem and there have been many campaigns to kick it out which have received the full backing of football’s governing bodies. However these campaigns have not had the desired effect on football because even in recent times there is still incidents of racism, to name a few: Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra, Serbia u21′s vs England u21′s and even more recently, Yaya Toure’s racist abuse from CSKA Moscow fans. This does raise the question, are football’s governing bodies doing enough on their part?
It all comes down to the punishment teams and individuals are receiving; regarding the CSKA Moscow and Yaya Toure case their punishment was a partial closure of the stadium during their next Champions League home game. Is this punishment strong enough? This same question applies to the Serbian u21 team who were fined 80,000 euros and ordered to play one match behind closed doors following racist chanting against England u21 players. This wasn’t the first time the Serbian FA were fined for racist chanting, it also happened in 2007 against England u21′s and that time they were only fined £16,000; this is proof that the punishments dished out by UEFA were not adequate enough to tackle the issue.
There have been some cases where FIFA and UEFA have actually dished out harsh punishments such as point deductions for certain issues, more notably Porto who were docked six points for their part in referee bribery during the 03/04 season and Boavista were relegated to the second division for similar offences; financially, Porto were fined 150,000 euros while Boavista were fined 180,000 euros. These punishments compared to the punishments that the Serbian FA and CSKA Moscow received are on a completely different scale and it sends out the wrong message because it looks like UEFA are more concerned about referee bribery rather than racism. Although referee bribery cannot be condoned and is not acceptable at all, I don’t think anyone would even try to bribe a referee due to the harsh punishment Porto and Boavista received.
If there was stern action from the top where we saw teams or individuals punished with larger fines, point deductions or even complete bans from a competition we might see teams crack down on the issue as the punishment is so severe and maybe then we might be able to start eliminating racism in football.