UEFA has urged Arsenal to submit an official complaint about racist abuse meted out to several of their players during Wednesday’s Champions League defeat at Valencia.
Valencia striker John Carew, who scored both goals in the Spanish side’s 2-1 win that eliminated Arsenal, had to ask a section of the home fans to stop shouting racist abuse during the game.
UEFA, spokesman Mike Lee said: “It is important if there has been abuse, and the players themselves have witnessed this, that it is reported officially to UEFA and not just to the media.
“We will look at the official reports (from the referee and match delegate) and also consider whether there is any other evidence that could be available.
“But obviously if a player has suffered abuse it is very important that UEFA is contacted and informed.”
Lee rejected suggestions by Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira that UEFA has not taken strong enough action to stamp out racism.
Vieira, quoted in British newspapers, pinned the blame for the abuse on UEFA: ‘The problem is UEFA arehypocrites,’ said the Arsenal captain. ‘They keep on saying they will do something about this but only fine clubs two or three thousand pounds.”
Lee denied the charge, stating: “Patrick is entitled to his view. He has expressed that view and obviously we don’t agree.
“The figures he gives are inaccurate, the fines have been more severe than that.
“UEFA has appealed twice recently against the penalties levied by its own disciplinary body. We take it very seriously.”
“We deplore racism and UEFA has made clear its strong stance on racism,” Lee said.
“We have taken disciplinary action and we are engagedin a very major campaign across Europe with the European football family … to kick it out of football.”