The UEFA Champions League’s Racial Black Eye

The struggle over racism has been going on for quite some time and will continue to do so for quite some time in the future. This is absolutely no excuse, but it does happen and even in settings as fantastic as the UEFA Champions League. Well, racism has reared its ugly head again with the abuse spewed during a match at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure by fans in Moscow.

It happened during the match between Manchester City and CSKA Moscow when the crowd started directing “monkey chants” at Toure, a player from the Ivory Coast. During the match Toure urged the officials to take action but they failed to do so. This inaction has left the league with a significant black eye over the whole debacle.

What makes the matter worse is that there was action taken by UEFA Champions League in 2009 that provided guidelines on what should happen when incidents like this happen. It gave officials the power to stop or abandon games in progress due to racial threats or other threats that jeopardised the safety of the players against the crowd. It outlined a simple three-step procedure that officials were to follow.

Why Rules Are Important

The problem in the Toure situation was that the protocol was not followed. The match continued even under the pressure of racist chants. Now to date it should be noted that no UEFA Champions League match has ever been abandoned, but they have been delayed, which is the second step of this protocol.

Manchester City is expected to take legal action against the league for failing to follow procedure. This will undoubtedly leave a black eye on the league. Hopefully it will be for the better though. Maybe this is what it will take to make the officials monitor the situations like this one more closely.

The End Result?

The UEFA has ordered that CSKA Moscow’s home stadium be partially closed as punishment for their next match, against Bayern Munich on November 27. The UEFA is also under pressure to deliver on its stance against racism, as it has been criticised in the past for being too lenient.

The incident has forced Russian soccer authorities to defend their readiness to host the 2018 World Cup, as black players say that they may boycott the World Cup if Russia does not take steps to stop racist abuse by its fans.

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