There are some decisions in sports one simply cannot wrap his or her mind around. In the case of the Union of European Football Associations or UEFA, there have been a myriad of baffling decisions on its part.
What has been increasingly clear is that UEFA, as well as FIFA have their priorities in the wrong places. They have shown time and time again that they care more to maintain the illusion of respectibility of a referee, rather than to squash racism out of fans around Europe. Perhaps that's because these organizations have convinced themselves that racism isn't a problem. FIFA's president Sepp Blatter stirred up controversy back in November when he said that racism isn't a problem on the pitch and it can be solved with a simple handshake. It was as ignorant of a statement as it was stupid.
UEFA in particular has given out some punishments that have been massively confusing to us fans. For example, the Union suspended Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger three games and slapped a €40,000 fine on him for criticising an official after its 3-0 win over AC Milan in March. In comparison, Manchester City's Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist chants by FC Porto fans, but the club was fined only €20,000.
Let's fast foward to Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. UEFA fined the Croatian Football Federation 80,000 euros because its fans were chanting racist things at Balotelli during Croatia's match against Italy last week. That's a pretty hefty fine, right? However, it seemed miniscule compared to Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner, who was hit with a fine of 100,000 euros for flashing his underpants that showed the logo of bookmaker Paddy Power after he scored a goal against Portugal last week. UEFA also suspended him for one international match.
Fans aren't the only ones confused, either. Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand and City's Vincent Kompany have also criticised the governing body. The former tweeted something something that most logical people would believe: 'Surely if you were a sponsor, you would consider racism as a more dangerous association than the damage caused by commercial opportunism?'
To answer Kompany's question, yes. It would be in a normal setting. But since UEFA operates in a dream world where the sky is pink and humans grow six legs, unexpected on-field marketing is much more heinous.
There are rumors about UEFA reviewing possible racist bahavior from Germany fans during the 2-1 victory over Denmark. Reports say there was a neo-Nazi banner among the supporters. Let's wait and see what kind of luke-warm reaction comes from the Union this time. It will surely be less than Wenger's or Bendtner's fines.
By not giving the problem of racism the attention it deserves, UEFA is stagnating the progress of modern man. By not giving serious punishments to clubs and leagues for racism towards players and other human beings, the Union is sending the message that racism is okay. It's sending the message that it deals with racism only because of pressure from outside forces. By doing this, UEFA is preserving outdated societal beliefs and actions.
This is something that should make many people angry. Something needs to be done about UEFA and its questionable decisions.