Uefa’s director of communications William Gaillard has responded to Rio Ferdinand’s claim that his organisation was not doing enough combat racism in football.
The Manchester United defender criticised Uefa for not being strong enough in dealing with racism in Europe.
However, Gaillard has denied the central thrus of Ferdinand’s claim and stated that the international matches to which Ferdinand referred, did not falll within UEFA’s jurisdiction.
”I think I understand Rio’s frustration because racism is a very ugly phenomenon and I feel we need to stamp it out,” he told Sky Sports News.
”But I also feel as a professional footballer he should do a bit of homework to understand how the game is organised.
”He quotes two instances; Spain versus England 18 months ago and then the Zaragoza-Barcelona game.
”Well he should know both these games were not under Uefa jurisdiction. All international friendlies are under Fifa jurisdiction. And of course, Spanish football is played under the authority of the Spanish Football Association.
”We cannot interfere, this is just the way the jurisdictions are established. We cannot interfere with Spanish sanctions.
”Rio should know we have imposed sanctions in tens of hundreds of thousands last year. We have banned stadiums for up to four games, have closed sections of stadiums in a number of countries.
”I think Uefa have been relentless in its fight against racism and we are always willing to do more. We need sanctions from politicians in some countries to protect us from the wrath of clubs who are hit with these sanctions.
”I have a lot of sympathy for his (Ferdinand’s) frustration and indignation but one has to be precise and be fair. It would be like asking Britain to be responsible for something that happened in a foreign country and asking courts to do something that is not in their jurisdiction,” he concluded.
”Unfortunately there are some things that we cannot do and one of these things is to go into someone else’s jurisdiction.
”We need players to get involved and we can’t have a situation where players are insulted on the pitch, they know they have been insulted but when we ask for witnesses, there is silence.
”We need players to stamp out the phenomenon.”
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