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UEFA President Platini Replies to Manchester MP

John Leech, MP for Withington, receives reply following Toure racism concerns

Written by . Published on November 18th 2013.

UEFA President Platini Replies to Manchester MP

DURING the recent Champions League away tie in Russia with CSKA Moscow on 23 October, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was subject to widely publicised racist 'monkey' chanting from a portion of the CSKA fans. John Leech, MP for Withington (and a City fan) sent a direct letter to UEFA President Michel Platini detailing his concerns over the incident.

Lo and behold, Platini replied.

In summary: Officials did their job. The venue director didn't. He's sacked.

Leech called for more severe and immediate punishments for clubs following racist incidents such as these. He said: “I asked for tough action to be taken by UEFA against CSKA Moscow and that has happened. My only worry is that, although Michel Platini accepts that Yaya Toure was racially abused, CSKA Moscow still won’t admit that their fans had done anything wrong on October 23. This shows that, in some parts of Europe, there is still a long way to go in the campaign to kick racism out of football.”

Here is Platini’s reply (image below):

Dear Mr Leech,

I am grateful for your letter and your observations about the CSKA-Manchester City Champions League game.

My colleagues in the UEFA refereeing department noted your comments about the referee at the CSKA vs. Manchester City Champions League match in the context of the way in which he may have dealt with the abuse suffered by Yaya Toure.

As you may know I initiated an immediate enquiry into the failure of the three-step process in place for match officials to deal with racist incidents of the kind we saw in Moscow.

The enquiry was thorough and was conducted quickly and found that in this case the referee and his assistants correctly reported the situation and actually did an excellent job in this matter but that the UEFA Venue Director failed to act. He has subsequently been discharged of his duties. I hope this course of action meets with your approval and you will note the referee was blameless in this case.

In general we tend to train our match officials as thoroughly as possible. In European competitions we usually find they are highly professional and excellent ambassadors for our sport, but are too often subjected to unfair criticism from various quarters. A situation, I am sure you agree that is regrettable. I will, however, eagerly join you in hoping for an incident-free exciting season of European football.

With best regards,

Michel Platini


In summary: Officials did their job. The venue director didn't. He's sacked.

UEFA protocol indicates that should racist chanting be reported to the referee by a player, a 'three step' process should take place, firstly, the halting of the game to make a public announcement.

The referee requested this from the venue director but he failed to take action.

John LeechJohn Leech

CSKA still deny the allegations, with CSKA coach Leonid Slutsky claiming that the 'situation has been very exaggerated'.

CSKA will have to play their next home Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on 27 November with a reduced capacity after UEFA ordered a portion of the stadium to be closed. The club has been warned that if any further offences occur, they shall be forced to play future ties behind closed doors.

CSKA Moscow also received a fine of 50,000 euros (£42,800) after the incident - pittance really.

Although MP John Leech may be satisfied with Platini's reply, and is probably riding high from the fact he even bothered to reply at all, it is clear that racist incidents such as these will never be eradicated by such menial punishments.

Closing one tier of a ground for one match and fining a huge club such as CSKA Moscow 50,000 euros barely touches the sides.

Until clubs are seriously threatened with expulsion from tournaments (currently three incidents have to occur before this is even considered), and therefore forced to police and educate their own supporters, sadly, incidents such as these will continue to take place.

Platini's reply letterPlatini's reply letter

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Poster BoyNovember 18th 2013.

Lip service.

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