Outrage over Uefa refusal to intervene in Kevin-Prince Boateng race storm

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

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."

Race shame

* 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.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen