UEFA has called on Europe’s top referees to make their contribution to eliminating racism from football. The call was made by UEFA’s director of competition operations, Jacob Erel, to a meeting of more than 100 élite referees gathered on the Greek island of Corfu for the annual UEFA referee courses.
“UEFA considers the phenomenon of racism and xenophobia to be very dangerous for our game. It undermines football, and is like a cancer which may damage the game and the revenue which benefits national associations, clubs, players and each individual within the football family,” said Erel.
“Most European nations continue to experience racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, which frequently occurs at football matches,” added Erel. “Perhaps the universality of our game attracts hooligans to use football matches to express their hatred of minorities or other ethnic groups.”
You will have seen and heard racism expressed in its various forms at matches in which you have officiated. Chanting, in particular against black players, the harassment of players, referees and spectators, and banners.”
“Each one of us has to take serious action to exclude racism from football,” he added. Erel called for referees to report racist incidents that occured on or off the pitch, between players and towards players from the grandstands. “If you see a banner as a referee, please draw this to the attention of the match delegate,” he said.
“Football should be a bridge between societies, ethnic groups and minorities, and break barriers in our society,” said Erel. “We have to do our utmost to ensure that football is clean of any kind of racism.”
UEFA has issued FARE’s ten-point plan of action that lists a variety of measures that clubs and associations can take against officials, players and spectators who engage in racist conduct.