UEFA determined to stamp out racism23 May 2005

UEFA has stressed its determination to punish the racists and drive them out of football. In recent times, UEFA has made its intentions clear by issuing disciplinary sanctions against clubs and national associations, aiming to show that it will not accept racist conduct. UEFA's communications and public affairs director William Gaillard says that they are operating a zero tolerance policy towards racist conduct throughout the game.

In an article on UEFA’s website, Gaillard said, “This year, there are quite a few instances where UEFA has intervened. This went from hefty fines to actually suspending a stadium for UEFA matches. There is a range of sanctions that we can apply.”

Delegates' role
UEFA match officials are instructed to report racist incidents, as they are on the spot to give first-hand evidence of such conduct. “In most of these [disciplinary] cases, the violations were signalled by our match delegates. They have been trained to look for incidents that could involve racism, they are aware of the situation. And we are getting results in terms of sanctions against racist incidents wherever they happen,” said Gaillard

Improving standards
William Gaillard is convinced that football's battle against racism is progressing well. “I think that we've made progress already. If we had applied the same sanctions 20 years ago, there would have been a lot more fines and a lot more grounds suspended. I think that supporters are behaving a lot better on the whole today than they were 20 years ago.”

”I think that the number of incidents recorded is increasing because we are more aware of them, and because UEFA and the football authorities are applying this 'zero tolerance' policy – this was not the case 25 years ago when people were less aware of the situation.”