UEFA have announced the punishment they see as fitting for the racist abuse Yaya Toure received while playing for Manchester City in Russia last week, namely ordering the club to close one section of their stadium for their next home Champions League game. Sections of the CSKA Moscow fans made monkey noises throughout the game whenever the City midfielder was on the ball, leading to widespread condemnation from the football community.
In the aftermath, Toure mentioned the possibility of black players boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Moscow while elsewhere there was mention of banning offending clubs from the Champions League, taking away their points in the competition or even depriving the country of the 2018 World Cup were all mentioned as suitable. Whatever the decision, surely it’s the time for UEFA to take swift, decisive and unambiguous action to make it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable.
After muttering something about ‘the referee not doing his job’ and ‘internal investigations’, UEFA have come down like a tonne of bricks on the Russian side, telling them firmly who is boss by closing approximately 16 per cent of their stadium for their next Champions League game against Bayern Munich. Yes, that’s one section containing about 3,000 seats out of a possible 18,636. For a game they weren’t going to win anyway. That’ll learn them.
Not for the first time in recent history, it’s being perceived as a weak response to racist behaviour from the European confederation. From what we can gather, these are the less than punitive guidelines Michel Platini and his team are working off.
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