Why always us?
Uefa, through its president Michel Platini, have announced that referees will have the power to suspend or even abandon games at this year's Euro Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
All of this in the light of a threat from hooligans to direct racist slurs and comments at players and officials during the tournament.
This is unprecedented in football and is the culmination of ongoing allegations by certain players against, not only their fellow professionals, but from fans and spectators as well.
One only has to think back to the Luis Suarez (Liverpool) and Patrice Evra (Manchester United) incident this last season.
This was followed by Anton Ferdinand (QPR) who claimed that Chelsea captain John Terry racially abused him during a game. This case comes to court in the UK shortly after the Euros finish.
Now I have a big problem with this. For example:
- Exactly what does Monsieur Platini expect the referees to do?
- Have they been advised at what stage they are to suspend or abandon a game?
- And what happens if an appeal is made against the referee’s decision? Is there provision for that?
There is nothing in the Fifa Laws of the Game that covers this kind of scenario. As I said, it’s unprecedented.
Once again the powers-that-be in football are found wanting and, in my opinion, this is a knee jerk reaction to a problem that has been around for a long time.
Let me put the record straight here and now. Racism in all its forms is repugnant and should be repudiated by all decent people from whatever quarter.
A few high profile players have said that they will walk off the field if they are racially abused in any way whatsoever.
Mario Balotelli, the Manchester City and Italy forward has threatened to do just that.
I’m putting on my cynical hat here. Is Monsieur Platini trying to get one step ahead of the possee fearing that it might rain on his parade?
Was he not aware of this problem before now?
I can’t help feeling that the referees are being set up for a fall. This sort of thing should have been sorted out long time ago by the organising committee for the Euros.
A clear directive should have been given spelling out exactly what will happen if such disgusting incidents occur and what punishment will be delivered to the perpetrators.
It’s not new to our beautiful game. It’s being going on for a long time so why is it such an issue now? Why are the referees being put in the firing line?
In my opinion the gutless administrators at the head of football are once again hiding behind anyone who will shield them from criticism. They are allergic to criticism and will always run and hide when the chips are down.
Please Monsieur Platini, be strong. You are the president and as such you are the leader of the most powerful continental association in the world.
Be strong and show leadership and don’t hide behind the unfortunate men-in-black. They have enough to worry about without this additional responsibility.
Dr. Errol Sweeney