'We are disheartened, but not surprised' – Kick It Out calls for overhaul of UEFA's sanctions for racial discrimination

The anti-racism campaign group was disappointed with the two-match stadium ban and fine

Kick It Out has demanded an overhaul in UEFA’s disciplinary process in response to incidents of racist abuse.

UEFA on Tuesday ordered Bulgaria to play two games behind closed doors – one of which is suspended for two years – and handed down a €75,000 fine following the racist behaviour of some of their fans during a Euro 2020 qualifier against England on October 14.

The Three Lions’ 6-0 victory in Sofia was overshadowed by England players being targeted by discriminatory chants, leading to the match being halted on two occasions. Some Bulgaria supporters were also seen making Nazi salutes.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin vowed in the aftermath of the game the governing body would “wage war on the racists”, while Kick It Out demanded the organisation “showed leadership”.

However, UEFA’s punishment has been deemed unsatisfactory by the campaign group.

“We are disheartened, but not surprised, to learn of UEFA’s response to the racist abuse directed at England players,” a statement read.

“In our view, they have missed another opportunity to send an uncompromising message on racism and discrimination.

“The current sanctions, however ‘tough’ UEFA think they may be, are clearly not working and leave victims with little faith in their ability to prevent abusive behaviour.

“We feel UEFA’s entire disciplinary process in response to racial discrimination should be overhauled and urge them to explain the decision-making process behind their sanctions for incidents of discrimination.”

Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster – who alleged he was racially abused by Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov during a UEFA Youth League match in 2017 but saw the case dropped due to a lack of evidence – labelled the sanctions “embarrassing”.

“Another embarrassing verdict,” the teenager tweeted. “Two games behind closed doors for Nazi salutes and racism. The world needs to wake up.”

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