Friday, July 27, 2007

The duplicity of UEFA...

So UEFA is finally taking a tough stance against teams whose supporters (sic) cause trouble by eliminating those teams from European competitions.

This week Serbian giants, Partizan Belgrade were kicked out of the UEFA cup as their fans created havoc when they played their first round first leg in Zrinjski, Bosnia Herzegovina. Given the tensions in that region, surely both teams or even UEFA could have foreseen the possible problems and taken action to play the game at a neutral venue? But that’s another issue

Only two weeks ago, Legia Warsaw suffered a similar fate when their fans travelled to Lithuania and rioted before and during the Intertoto Cup game with Vetra Vilnius.

I am not for one minute attempting to condone the actions of the supporters of Partizan and Legia and fully support UEFA in eliminating both teams from the respective competitions

What I am taking issue with UEFA is, their double standards in dealing with “big clubs” and the lesser one’s. Let’s face it, who, outside Belgrade or Warsaw, really gives a damn about these two teams missing out on a possible lucrative cup run? Neither of them really had a chance to win either tournament and were there just to make the numbers up. Perhaps if one of them had been drawn against one of the big boys, their finances could have improved slightly but that’s about it.

However, what if United, Barcelona, Real, or Milan fans had behaved in such a fashion? What would have happened to those teams? Do you think that UEFA would have been as tough and uncompromising? I think we know the answer – a hefty fine, a slap on the wrist and a severe warning is the most the “giants” of European football could expect. The more cynical side of me would suggest that UEFA would be more concerned about the loss of revenue should, Lord forbid, one of those teams supporters give reason to act in such a manner.

Regular followers of United in Europe will, no doubt, still have the memory of their trip to the Olympic Stadium in Rome last season. Here they were met by a group of supporters (the Ultras) who had an amazing array of weapons openly on display. The Rome police, were totally oblivious – no, completely ignored this and allowed the Ultras to slash, bash and attack United supporters with impunity. Any reaction from United supporters was met with horrendous police brutality. United fans are not alone in this mindless thuggery of Rome’s football fans and the riot police – Leeds and Liverpool fans have also suffered – one suspects there are many others too.

Once described as the “English disease” football hooliganism has spread alarmingly throughout Europe, notably Holland, Italy, the former Eastern bloc countries where the problems are far more serious than England ever experienced, and, let’s not forget, Turkey. Any followers of teams visiting the later will have returned with horror stories

So what have UEFA done about this? Nothing! Punitive fines and warnings to the larger clubs, expulsion for the colloquial ones. Duplicity at it’s worse.

For UEFA to have the temerity to ridiculously accuse Liverpool having the worst behaved supporters in Europe just shows their reluctance to face up to facts and act in an equitable manner for all clubs.

As for the English disease? We appear to have recognised, not fully cured but quarantined the problem. The rest of Europe should take note. However, I fear that it will take another tragedy; please God not another Heysel, before the hierarchy at UEFA will start to take proper and appropriate action against ALL teams. It can’t come soon enough for me.



  1. Hey ... Intersting theory yours .... Yes there are discrimations between big clubs or ( money maker - most sky viewers) and the less, for that standards important to Uefa.

    I am Italian, living in New York and not and Ultras of a big team... Just a supporter of a clean club called Chievo Verona. Who for the same reason your are mentioning is now out of the A league and in the poorer (TV rights) B league.
    I can assure you that in Rome Vs Manchester Englishmen will receive the same old treatem reserved to asny other supporters every sunday.
    1) Beeing stuck by lines of riot police wearing Roma scarfes.
    2) provoched by attacks and launch of object and molotov by nearby roma supporters.
    3) You are lucky if you make it to the stadium without encountering small gangs of Ultras who will slice you with a knife just for wearing a Man undt scarf or becouse you have an english accent and got noticed by roma ultras.. Or Lazio,... since you ae an enemy anyway..
    4)Than if you make it to the stadium , you get stripped searched by cops and you don't get to keep coins and even lighters for security mesures You will be there and you must stay there and have fun beeing targeted all night by objects trown by everyone around you>> ( Oranges with lazor blad stuck in it are a roman favourite welcome...)

    4) if you react to any provocations ... than is a GO for the riot squad to have their time of their life.... You just goona feel what it is to be treated like an animal when disobbey to a bastard, mean old owner...

    5) if your team is also winning ... than immagine the cops becoming the same bastard owner caming home ... but a bit more drunk and pist... tha usual. and he find you pissing on his pillow...

    6) after all that .... if you are equipped with a camera phone or have proves of the abuse you received.... hide it... Or the police will take you phone and crash it..

    as you get back home in england (unless somebody also robbed you ) you will think that we italians are animals... wankers...
    You are right .... we are ...
    but is a thing hard to explain ...
    Italian after Heysel ...all of the ultras expecially feel like ... well ... immagine if someone rape and beated up your doughter, woman , wife, mather ...

    that is what they all feel when english supporter come to our towns.

    It is sad, sick, and wrong. But it is the truth.

    The problem is that the police wont arrest any italians.... will always give you an extra baton if they can...

    I am against violence... I hate seeing the scenes I saw in tv. and not proud of it at all..

    i suggest you .... watch the match at home in tv .... unlesss you are a daredevil....

    good luck!


  2. Well Max thanks for taking the time to reply.

    For what it's worth, I agree with you that the cops are as bad as the Ultras.

    Take the events of this week when that fan was shot dead, I must admit that I find it hard to believe that it was a mistake. But what will happen? Nothing I suspect, apart from the cop in question will get punished.

    The whole approach to policing at football is wrong in Italy. Some of your clubs let these Ultras rule, they've been known to give them free tickets. The Ultras have too much power. The cops as you say are just thugs in uniform.
    All fans should be searched before entering the ground and not just visiting fans. This is where UEFA needs to get tough with the Italian clubs - because the clubs themselves will not face up to dealing with security.

    What goes on in Italy simply wouldn't be allowed to happen in the UK - if the clubs and the police didn't sort it out - UEFA would soon sort it out, and no mistake by banning ALL English clubs from playing in Europe.

    The fact that UEFA turns a blind eye towards your troubles and allows the cops and Ultras to carry on as they do is because of Italy is regarded as a big European player - lesser nations wouldn't get away it.

    You mention Heysel and we will never forget that. English clubs also have fans who are less than angels, many can be a complete and utter embarrassments when following their club abroad, but in the main most want to just go and enjoy the football and have a few drinks beforehand.

    I could understand Liverpool fans being attacked because of Heysel, but to use them as an excuse for attacking every Englishman is just that an excuse.

    As you say, it's perhaps best to stay away, that may happen for United's next game in Rome but should they meet another Italian club in the later stages the fans will travel in numbers.


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