Labour’s Shadow Sports team write to UEFA boss to demand match forfeits and potential disqualification to deal with racism in football.
Rosena Allin-Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Sports Minister, speaking in the House of Commons Urgent Question on racism during the England Bulgaria match, said:
“This abuse must be stamped out – no one should have to arrive at work to be subjected to any form of discrimination. Why are our players still being subjected to this?
“UEFA has a duty to act here, the world is watching. A fine is not enough, so I am asking our Government to ensure that we are backing up the FA to seek the harshest possible punishment. Stadium bans are a must, forfeiting matches and expulsion from tournaments must not be ruled out. Enough is enough. The time to act is now.”
Tom Watson, and Rosena Allin-Khan have written to UEFA boss to ask that tougher measures are introduced to deal with racism in football, following the terrible abuse during the Bulgaria game. They urge match forfeits to be introduced and disqualification to be seriously considered.
Full text of the letter to UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin:
The vile racist behaviour at last night’s England-Bulgaria match was a disgrace. Once again we see the ugly side of the beautiful game, and it cannot be allowed to continue.
This was not a one-off. Racist abuse is a routine reality for many football players. That’s why UEFA should introduce and implement tougher disciplinary protocols for racism. Bulgaria should immediately forfeit matches for their fans’ behaviour, and disqualification should be seriously considered.
Decisive action is needed to stamp out racism in football, and it is clear that UEFA’s current system of fines and temporary stadium bans are not working. The partial stadium ban did nothing to reduce racist behaviour from Bulgarian fans last night. The system is simply not fit for purpose.
No one should be expected to put up with the abuse that was directed at England’s players last night. We are immensely proud of the team’s conduct under extremely difficult circumstances, but the onus cannot and should not be on the victims of racist abuse to rise above it. It is the responsibility of teams, of fans, and of UEFA to ensure that racism does not occur in the first place.
We need a step change in tackling racism in football. This has gone on for far, far too long. That is why we urge you to make UEFA’s position clear by ensuring that Bulgaria forfeit matches, by seriously considering expulsion, and by strengthening the disciplinary protocols at the earliest possible opportunity.
We look forward to your response.
Tom Watson MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP
Shadow Sports Minister