European campaigners today welcomed the decision of UEFA to impose a fine and ban on Atletico Madrid for racism as a “momentous” decision, and called for renewed efforts to tackle all forms of discrimination.
Campaigners from FARE and players have spoken about the impact that today's decision will have in helping to tackle racism as they launch the annual Week of action on Thursday 16th October.
The UEFA sanction follows the Champions League game between Altletico Madrid and Marseille. It will consist of:
– a three match Champions League stadium ban for Atletico
– a two match ban for their manager Javier Aguirre
– a €150,000 fine.
The sanctions are the largest to have been imposed on any football body for racism.
Lord Ouseley, Chairman of UK campaigners Kick It Out commented:
“The leadership that UEFA has demonstrated through these sanctions sends out a message that is loud and clear; racism will not be tolerated.
We have been working with UEFA for a number of years to take on the challenges of dealing with racism amongst fans and governing bodies across Europe. It is now critical that every member of the football family follows this lead and understands what they need to do to tackle this epidemic of racial and homophobic abuse.”
Kurt Wachter of Austrian FARE partner Fairplay-VIDC, said:
“Progressive fans across Europe understand the damage that the racism, homophobia and other forms of abuse do to the sport that we all love.
FARE is committed to working with partners in every corner of Europe to ensure that we do everything we can to ensure that incidents like the one at Atletico Madrid are challenged by peer pressure.
We will continue to work with fan groups in southern Europe and within the cultures of the Ultras and Penas groups.”
Paul Elliott, FARE ambassador and former Chelsea, Bari and Celtic defender commented:
“This is a momentous decision. I and other leading players in the game – black and white – fully support the actions that UEFA have taken and urge all governing bodies to work with us to make sure that racism is effectively eradicated.
UEFA’s decision sets out a zero-tolerance policy that underlines respect for the rights of human beings whatever their race, religion or ethnic background.”