Why is it that Football continually shoots its self in the foot? The news that Serbia were fined 80,000 euros and ordered to play their next under-21 international behind closed doors by UEFA as the games European Governing body handed out a range of sanctions following October’s violent European qualifier against England seem weak to say the least.
To be fair two of Serbia’s coaching staff members and four players have also been handed suspensions, while two England players have also been banned. At the October 21 game in Krusevac, England defender Danny Rose was sent off for kicking the ball away in response to what he claimed was monkey chanting and physical provocation. At the end of the match scuffles broke out between players, coaches and supporters. It was a very unseemly sight for a youth international, or any international.
The sanctions may seem reasonable to some, but that is until one casts one’s mind back to the Euro Championships earlier this year. After scoring against Portugal, Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner pulled up his shirt to reveal ‘Paddy Power’ branded underwear and the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body took drastic action against him. He was fined an astonishing 100,000 euros and banned for one competitive international fixture!
At the time eyebrows were raised as this was almost as much as Russia were fined when their fans attacked stewards during their match against Poland. Following that game UEFA took 100,000 euros from them for the violence which occurred in the stadium, making the size of Bendtner’s fine look ridiculous.
We understand that sponsors must be protected, which was the the excuse given for the size of Bendtner’s fine, as Ladbrokes are a UEFA sponsor, but surely racism and crowd violence are bigger offences than showing the name of a company on your underpants? UEFA, really have made themselves a laughing stock with this recent decision.