Outrage over Uefa refusal to intervene in Kevin-Prince Boateng race storm
European football's governing body believes the Boateng incident lies outside its jurisdiction
Uefa to stay out of a racism storm. It is hardly a shock. The decision to effectively ignore a potentially historic moment, when a black player led Milan from the field of play because of racist abuse directed towards him and three of his colleagues by supporters of the opposition, says much for the significance –or rather lack of – placed on the abuse of footballers because of the colour of their skin by European football's leading body.
Italian football carries many scars because of the repeated racist incidents involving its football supporters. That they themselves appear to have said enough – and Milan have so far stood side by side with their players – suggests that the penny has finally dropped in that particular country.
But that Uefa has failed to act with the vigour required to send a message that would keep the reverberations felt throughout Europe on Thursday alive, when Kevin-Prince Boateng said enough is enough, by throwing its own weight into the equation, is sadly predictable.
It was not in Uefa's competition. It is not part of its jurisdiction.
They are weak arguments that do little to dispel the notion that Uefa does not take racism seriously enough.
Uefa's initial fine for the Serbian FA for their fans racially abusing England's Under-21 players in October was £65,000, £15,000 less than it fined Nicklas Bendtner for showing a logo on his underpants during the European Championship. Uefa has since appealed against the level of its own fine.
It also fined Manchester City £8,000 more for their players being one minute late on to the field of play during a Champions League game last season against Porto than it did Porto for their supporters racially abusing City's Mario Balotelli.
Uefa insisted privately yesterday that it will not become involved in the Boateng row because the incident took place in a game that was not one taking place in its competition. The governing body believes the Italian Football Federation should instead deal with the hugely controversial matter on its own because it was out of Uefa's jurisdiction.
Ged Grebby, the chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, was quite right to criticise such a stance.
"Uefa have to take action," he said. "They had been caught out, particularly over the Serbian incident. They are the leading body in football and they are not taking a lead in the action. You can do the fantastic billboards around the grounds, with 'Say no to racism,' but once something like this happens, they have to take action.
"The overwhelming reaction to what happened with Milan has been positive. Both the coach and the club's officials are saying they did the right thing. I remember a few years ago when the Italian Football Federation said there was no problem.
"This was a friendly game but once racism happens in the game then it is no longer a friendly, by definition.
"The least Uefa should do is put a formal complaint in and ask the Italian FA what they should be doing. It is a problem that is ongoing in Italy.
"We've had numerous examples of racism in the Italian game this season. What I thought was really good was the reaction of the fans themselves towards the racist fans. If we are to beat the problem in Italy, it has to be fan-led. You have to get the fans on board and isolate the racists. That is what we have done in England."
PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle also called for Uefa to become involved. "I hope the support from the board of Milan keeps coming and Uefa look more closely at this incident," he said.
"I applaud and commend Kevin-Prince Boateng and both teams for their united action against mindless idiots. I have constantly given my support to any player walking off the pitch if they felt racial abuse wasn't being dealt with in the work place."
International players' association FIFPro also backed the decision to leave the field of play. "It is sad and disappointing that these players had to leave the pitch due to the behaviour of a small group of so-called fans but we have to draw a line," a statement on its website read.
"The decision by Boateng and his team-mates may become an increasing trend that football has to deal with in the years ahead. Footballers today are [rightly] not prepared to accept racial abuse and any other form of discriminatory behaviour in the modern game."
Only Clarence Seedorf questioned the decision. He said: "They [racists] should just be identified and kicked out of the stadium. Leave the 90 per cent that were enjoying the match and finish the game. That is how I think it should be handled. Walking away? Yes, you send a signal, but this has happened more than once and I don't think it really changes all that much. We are just empowering that little group with their behaviour to make this mess."
* Ashley Cole
The Bulgarian Football Association was fined just £32,000 following abuse directed towards Ashley Young during England's Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia.
* Roberto Carlos, 2011
Brazil defender was twice taunted with a banana whilst playing for Anzhi Makhachkala. Zenit were fined £6,250 over the first incident.
* Serbia Under-21s, 2012
Uefa fined the Serbian FA £65,000 following racist incidents in a qualifier with England, which saw Danny Rose sent-off after reacting to monkey chants from the stands.
* Kevin-Prince Boateng, 2013
Former Spurs and Portsmouth midfielder called for more action to be taken to combat racism after he walked off the pitch during a Milan friendly this week following racist abuse from supporters.
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