Goal.com interview SRtRC Chief Executive, Ged Grebby about fines imposed by UEFA on Croatian Football Federation, following racism from sections of Croatia fans at game against Italy.
In an interview with Goal.com, SRtRC Chief Executive Ged Grebby has criticised the level of fine imposed by UEFA on the Croatian Football Federation following elements of the Croatia travelling support directing racism at Italy striker Mario Balotelli.
UEFA announced yesterday that it had fined the Croatian Football Federation 80,000euros over their supporters’ behaviour.
The outgoing Croatia national team manager condemned the racists saying “(Racism) is a big problem all around Europe and all around the world and on behalf of the entire nation, not even as a football manager, I want to say that I am disappointed as a Croatian, a parent and a sportsman, a person who comes from a modern, open-minded and tolerant state.”
“Everyone is welcome in our country. I don’t like these kind of supporters and nor do my players. I live in Croatia and we really are a tolerant country. We are not a racist country and we are angry at these few crazy supporters. We have to put sanctions (in place) and stop these kind of supporters forever.”
It was also announced that Denmark player Nicklas Bendtner would be fined 100,000euros and banned for one game for advertising a bookmakers on his underwear, which he displayed during a goal celebration.
“When Croatia are fined less than Nicklas Bendtner for wearing dodgy underpants, it sends out the wrong message,” Grebby told Goal.com.
“It suggests that if you upset our sponsors that you will get a bigger fine than a team whose fans are guilty of racism and that is unwelcome.
“It is a shame because the overall message on anti-racism has been really strong and that has come from Michel Platini at the top to the billboards at the grounds.
“All in all we are happy with the way Uefa have been dealing with racism but it just seems to me that this fine for the Croatian FA is simply not big enough.
While Grebby, who is based near Newcastle, was dissatisfied with Uefa for their response to the Croatian fans’ conduct, he applauded Croatia head coach Slaven Bilic for his condemnation of his compatriots.
“We would have to praise Slaven Bilic because his comments were outstanding,” Grebby said.
“You don’t challenge the racists by turning them into martyrs, you challenge them by turning them into pariahs which is what Bilic has done in making it clear that they are letting everyone down within their own country.
Croatia were fined 15,000 just under four years ago when England striker Emile Heskey was racially abused by supporters in a World Cup qualifier in Zagreb.
They were also given a small fine during Euro 2008 for racist abuse from their fans during their game against Turkey.
The BBC reports that there was alleged racist chanting in the Spain-Italy and Russia-Czech Republic games are already subject to investigations.
A Spanish fans' group has said some of its country's supporters abused striker Balotelli in their game with Italy, while Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie told reporters he "noticed" racist chants directed at him.
Balotelli, who started the 1-1 draw against Croatia, said before Euro 2012 that he would "not accept racism at all" and would walk off the pitch if racially abused by fans.
Netherlands players said they heard racist chanting during a pre-tournament open training session in Krakow.
“Overall, Uefa have done very well when it has come to fighting racism at the Euros,” Grebby continued.
“There have been a lot of positives so far. One of the things that have made an impact are the boards around the stadiums because they set the tone by sending out a strong message that racism will not be tolerated.
“There have been racist incidents but they have been of a smaller scale. There have been a lot of plusses and it has helped that incidents have been dealt with very quickly and fines issued when the championships are still taking place.”