FA Expected To OK Minimum Five-Match Ban For Players Guilty Of Racial Abuse
Footballers found guilty of racial abuse will be served a minimum five-match ban that could extend beyond 10 in “aggravated” circumstances under FA plans to be approved on Thursday, according to Ashling O'Connor of the LONDON TIMES. The FA will "vote on its revised anti-discrimination policy at its annual meeting amid growing pressure to clamp down on racism in the English game." Outgoing FA Chair David Bernstein is "keen to set a clear benchmark for sanctions but does not want to be held ransom to the proposal" by UEFA for a 10-game minimum ban. UEFA is "expected to ask its 53 member associations to ratify the measure at its congress in London next week against a backdrop of rising frustration at persistent racism in some parts of European football." Bernstein said that "he was determined to push through tougher sanctions" but would not mirror UEFA's minimum 10-match ban. Bernstein: "Ours is a very detailed and thought-out proposal. It is not likely to be exactly in line with UEFA's. Ours will have a minimum, but it will have a clear acceleration from that minimum for more serious incidents. If an insult has been repeated or there are aggravating factors. We may well go beyond the 10” (LONDON TIMES, 5/14). The AP reported the FA leadership has been "under pressure to introduce tougher and clearer sanctions." In the past two years Liverpool striker Luis Suárez and Chelsea captain John Terry "have been banned for racial abuse." Suárez was suspended for eight games, while Terry received half that punishment. English football anti-racism group Kick It Out Chair Herman Ouseley is calling for stronger deterrents. Ouseley: "If UEFA are prepared to go with 10 -- let's go with 10 [in England]. We will look stupid if UEFA go with 10 and we go with five" (GUARDIAN, 5/13).
BLATTER CRITICIZES FINE: In London, Owen Gibson reported FIFA President Sepp Blatter "has condemned the Italian football authorities for only levying" a fine of €50,000 ($64,845) over "racist abuse" aimed at AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli and midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng by Roma fans, "undermining his drive for stronger sanctions." Blatter said that it was "surprising" and "not understandable" that within 24 hours of the incident at San Siro, which caused the referee to stop play for several minutes while order was restored, "the Italian football federation had levied the paltry fine and closed the book." Blatter: "What is surprising and is not understandable for me, is that the disciplinary committee of the Italian Football Federation has taken a decision, not even 24 hours after the event, by just imposing a fine. They have not made any investigation of what happened" (GUARDIAN, 5/14).
DROGBA RESPONDS: EUROSPORT reported Turkish club Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba "hit back at a Fenerbahce fan who waved a banana" toward him and his teammate Emmanuel Eboue during the weekend's league encounter. A Fenerbahce fan was stabbed to death and more than 100 fans were detained following Turkey's most popular derby. Drogba highlighted "that both Fenerbahce goals were scored by Cameroon striker Pierre Webo." Drogba said on Galatasaray's Facebook page, "You called me monkey but you got mad when I became champion with Galatasaray and the saddest thing is you called me monkey and forgot that you jumped when my 'monkey' brother scored twice yesterday. ... And you call yourself a true fan? Check all the Galatasaray fans' comments and learn from them" (EUROSPORT, 5/14). EL MUNDO reported that Drogba also said, "You call me monkey but you cried when Chelsea eliminated Fenerbahce in 2008, you called me monkey but you jumped in front of your TV when I won the Champions League" (EL MUNDO, 5/14).