25 Oct 2013

Uefa to investigate Yaya Toure racist chants

Uefa boss Michel Platini orders an investigation after a Champions League referee failed to issue a warning to Russian fans about alleged racist abuse directed at Manchester City’s Yaya Toure.

Manchester City's Yaya Toure in action against CSKA Moscow (G)

Uefa says its protocol for match officials to handle racism incidents “was not applied” after Manchester City’s Yaya Toure was allegedly racially abused by CSKA Moscow fans on Wednesday night.

Platini has requested an internal investigation to understand why the protocol was not implemented – Uefa

Toure made the allegation following Manchester City’s 2-1 Champions League win in Moscow, and Uefa has charged the Russian club over the alleged racist behaviour of their fans, prompting a disciplinary hearing on 30 October.

A Uefa statement read: “Michel Platini has requested that the Uefa administration immediately conduct an internal investigation to understand why the three-step protocol established to deal with incidents of a racist nature was not implemented.”

World Cup boycott

The Ivory Coast international has suggested that black players could boycott the World Cup when it is held in Russia in 2018 and has received support from anti-racism groups.

However, CSKA Moscow are expected to challenge the Uefa charge after issuing a statement saying they were “surprised and disappointed” by Toure’s and City officials’ allegations.

The first step of Uefa's guidelines to deal with racist abuse in stadiums is to stop play and ask stadium officials to broadcast a warning.
If abuse continues, the second step in Uefa's protocol empowers referees to suspend a match and take teams off the pitch.
The third step is abandoning the match.

CSKA also quoted their own Ivory Coast player, striker Seydou Doumbia, as saying he did not hear any racist abuse.

Doumbia said: “I didn’t hear anything like that from the CSKA fans.

“Yes, they’re always noisy in supporting the team, and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn’t ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants.

“So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating.”

‘No place for racism’

The local organising committee for the 2018 World Cup released its own statement, which read: “Whilst the alleged incidents are still under investigation by the relevant authorities, it is worth restating that all stakeholders in Russian football have made it clear that there is absolutely no place for any type of racial discrimination or abuse in our game.

“What is clear is that football is uniquely positioned to educate fans in combating this global issue. The 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia, in particular, can act as a catalyst to positively change the mindsets and behaviour across all involved in Russian football over the next four years.

“The fans law that was recently passed into legislation shows Russia’s determination to eradicate the problem for good. The 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia will be a festival of football where talented athletes from every corner of the globe will be celebrated.”

The match referee Ovidiu Hategan from Romania, meanwhile, has been criticised for failing to follow Uefa’s procedures and issue a stadium announcement warning that the chants must cease.

Uefa sanctions

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes, who is also European president on the international players’ union FIFPro, said: “We’re very disappointed that a clear agreed protocol which is designed to deal with these situations was not effected.

“The player, having done what was asked of him to notify the referee, quite rightly expected that the referee would go speak with the safety officer, and the [Uefa] protocol agreed is that the safety officer should make a stadium announcement warning the fans that if the chants do not desist that the game will be stopped.”

A first offence of racist behaviour by supporters carries a sanction of a partial stadium closure and second offence leads to a full stadium closure plus a fine.