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FIFPro Division Europe President, Bobby Barnes, claims UEFA's match officials failed to carry out their own protocol following racial abuse suffered by Manchester City's Yaya Toure during Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash away to CSKA Moscow.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive of England's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), Barnes echoed the sentiments of Ivory Coast international midfielder, Toure, at Thursday's FIFPro Congress in Ljubjana by calling on UEFA to send a strong message.

 

‘The player is very upset as indeed are other players, not just black players but all players at the club.’

 

‘I would certainly hope in line with the hard line stance that UEFA has stated and intends to use in these circumstances they will make a meaningful sanction in this case. It's important we send a message now.’

 

‘We're very disappointed that a clear agreed protocol which is designed to deal with these situations was not effected.’

 

Toure, who captained Manchester City in Moscow, said he told referee Ovidiu Hategan about racist chants coming from the stands. Barnes confirmed as much to FIFPro following discussions on this Thursday with Manchester City officials.

 

‘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.’

 

‘Obviously it's difficult in a pressure situation, referees have lots to think about but there are a number of officials at games, nothwithstanding the fact you've got additional referees behind the goals in Champions League matches.’

 

UEFA recently announced that for incidents of racist abuse involving spectators, sanctions include a partial stadium closure for the first offence and a full stadium closure for repeat offenders, as well as fines of 50,000 euro.

 

Barnes added, ‘It's absolutely ridiculous in this day and age that the supporters of any football club feel that it is acceptable to do that.’

 

 

La Division Afrique de la FIFPro et l’Association des Footballeurs Ivoiriens, comme tous les footballeurs, apportent leur soutien à Yaya Touré, le milieu ivoirien de Manchester City, victime, comme tant d’autres avant lui, d’une bêtise et d’une lâcheté devenues ordinaires, qui font que le racisme est aujourd’hui chez lui dans les stades de football.

 

Si, partout ou presque, la violence a été éradiquée, le racisme, lui, continue à polluer notre sport et le phénomène tend à se développer devant l’inertie des instances, ici nationales, là internationales.

 

« On demande aux joueurs d’être exemplaires et ils le sont, affirme Stéphane Burchkalter, le secrétaire général de la Division Afrique de la FIFPro. C’est pourquoi ils réclament en retour d’être protégés de toutes formes d’agression physiques ou verbales. Il en est de la responsabilité des organisateurs des compétitions, si prestigieuses soit-elle comme la Ligue des Champions, de veiller à ce que les stades redeviennent des espaces protégés. La tolérance zéro, si chère à nos dirigeants dès qu’il s’agit de sanctionner des joueurs, doit ici s’appliquer partout avec la même intransigeance, y compris dans un pays qui, dans cinq ans, accueillera la Coupe du monde. »

 

 

 

 

FIFPro Division Africa and the Association of Ivorian Footballers, together with all footballers, are expressing their support for Yaya Touré, the Ivorian midfielder for Manchester City who has become the victim, like so many others before him, of a piece of stupidity and a cowardly act that have become routine, and have made racism feel at home in football stadiums today.

 

Although violence has been eradicated everywhere, or almost everywhere, racism on the other hand continues to pollute our sport, and the phenomenon is tending to grow even worse given the inertia of the authorities, national here, international elsewhere.

 

‘Players are asked to be exemplary and they are’, declares Stéphane Burchkalter, Secretary-General of FIFPro Division Africa. ‘That is why they ask in return to be protected from all forms of physical or verbal attack. It is the responsibility of the organizers of competitions, however prestigious they may be, like the Champions League, to ensure that the stadiums become protected spaces once more. Zero tolerance, so dear to our executives whenever it's a question of punishing players, must be applied everywhere with the same intransigence, including in the country that will be welcoming the World Cup in five years' time.’