UEFA threatens clubs with expulsion05 March 2005

UEFA have warned clubs that they could face expulsion from UEFA competitions if their fans are found guilty of racist behaviour. UEFA already have a range of sanctions for clubs found guilty of racist abuse, including fines and playing behind closed doors.

UEFA spokesman, William Gaillard told the BBC,
“There is no limit to the actions that we will take. We are ready to exclude a team from our UEFA run competitions if we have repeat offenders. We have to tell people that it is not acceptable and will not be tolerated – end of story. In some cases it is fine to use the carrot but if the stick is not behind it, the carrot is not enough.”

Recent problems
Gaillard’s comments come after the recent scenes in Spanish football, which have appalled the football community. Late last year, the friendly between Spain and England, under the jurisdiction of FIFA, saw some of the worst racist scenes for some time. Spanish coach Luis Aragones added fuel to the fire by racially slurring Arsenal’s Thierry Henry, for which he received a paltry fine from the Spanish FA. In the Spanish domestic league, racist incidents are common, with Deportivo, Getafe CF, Málaga CF, Albacete Balompié and Club Atlético de Madrid all receiving fines of late.

However, Gaillard is optimistic that the problems in Spain will be addressed,
“I think the Spanish FA is gradually becoming aware that there is a problem and it has to be tackled seriously. I think there was probably a consciousness gap. I think football has been targeted by small extremist groups in Spain and some organisational measures are needed.

Clubs have realised they are going to be penalised – not only will they be fined but they could lose points or their grounds could be banned. That is the cost they are going to have to bear for the behaviour of a small minority which with a little bit of courage they could isolate and get rid of quite easily.”

Working with FARE
UEFA have been working very closely with the FARE Network in recent years to help rid the game of the evil of racism. UEFA have adopted FARE’s 10-point-plan of action, which they have issued to all clubs and associations. After the FARE organised “Unite Against Racism” conference, FARE and UEFA have worked together to give practical assistance clubs and authorities in combating their racist problems.