Jack Pitt-Brooke: Where is the stampede of voices to condemn this bigotry?

People seem fed up of complaining and getting no action from the authorities

It seems slightly unusual to accuse English football of an outrage deficit. For the past few seasons, even in the past few weeks, difficult but important issues have tended to spark some brief and excessive heat in the form of headlines, resolutions, denunciations and so on, before spluttering out. It would be difficult to argue that there were not enough words, not enough opinions or insufficient calls to action.

But then on Wednesday evening Yaya Touré was the target of monkey noises in Moscow and yet hardly anything was done.

Touré spoke passionately about it in his post-match television interview – not usually the home of very much honesty or insight. "It was unbelievable and very, very sad," Touré said. "If Uefa did something it would be very nice." When asked what he would like Uefa to do, Touré said "a lot", suggesting games behind closed doors for the guilty clubs or even stadium bans.

Normally you would expect a stampede of supportive voices, of condemnation, of refusal to accept the backward bigotry that still infests the game in parts of Europe. Vincent Kompany, City's injured captain, tweeted demanding that the authorities do more. But, beyond that, there was not very much. Manuel Pellegrini, in his post-match press conference, sounded more disappointed than furious. "It's a pity and stupid," he said, "I hope they will [send] the right message to finish all this."

However, the usual anger did not quite rouse itself. Even Manchester City kept their counsel as they submitted their report to Uefa, before last night releasing a brief statement confirming their "written formal complaint". Some of the loudest voices were from CSKA Moscow, with even Seydou Doumbia, Touré's Ivorian team-mate, accusing him of going overboard. It was almost as if there is a weariness now in the English game after the repeated racial problems of the last few years and little appetite left for righteous anger.

This is understandable to an extent. In City's Europa League campaign in February 2012, Porto fans at the Estadio de Dragao racially abused Mario Balotelli, City lodged a complaint and Porto were fined £16,700, after initially claiming the supporters were merely singing "Hulk, Hulk, Hulk". The following month, City were back in Portugal playing a Europa League game at Sporting Lisbon. They kicked off for the second half slightly too late, and were fined £25,000. They were furious.

Yaya Touré accused some CSKA fans of racial abuse (Reuters) Yaya Touré accused some CSKA fans of racial abuse (Reuters)  

The fines, it must be said, are getting larger. Lazio were fined £120,000 by Uefa earlier this year, and handed a suspended ban, for the racist conduct of their fans in games against Tottenham Hotspur and Maribor last season.

But the prospect of punishment on the pitch remains just a promise. Uefa referees are not just permitted but instructed to take players off in case of "serious racist behaviour". The official guidelines – coming from Uefa and recently re-asserted by them, the top clubs' organisation ECA and by the international players' union Fifpro – who were far from impressed by Wednesday night – state that the referee must stop the game and ask for a public address demanding the end of the abuse. More abuse should see the players taken off the field, and even more the end of the game.

Manuel Pellegrini seemed more disappointed than furious (Getty) Manuel Pellegrini seemed more disappointed than furious (Getty)  

None of these guidelines, of course, were followed at the Khimki Arena on Wednesday evening. The only difference between that game, and any other shameful night in recent years of European football, was the passing of a "No to Racism" pennant along the two teams during the playing of the Champions League anthem before kick-off. Of course, symbols do matter and it is better to have an "official" anti-racism message than none at all. But when those three easy words are written on the armband of an African player being called a monkey by European fans, it does look rather pathetic to say the least.

We will see on 30 October how Uefa punish CSKA Moscow, but, having temporarily moved into the Khimki Arena – though they didn't face Viktoria Plzen there because of the poor state of the pitch – it remains to be seen how upset they would be even by a stadium ban.

But it is unlikely that very much will change. Which is perhaps why, even in the emotionally excessive world of English football, there was not much of the usual fury this time.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power