Black players being racially abused during a game in Eastern Europe is not a new thing. It has been happening for as long as I can remember.
UEFA and FIFA talk a great game when it comes to fighting racism. The banners, the adverts, the arm bands. But when it comes down to it, and a racist incident occurs, they fold.
In 2012, UEFA it fined Nicklas Bendtner around £80,000 for exposing the waistband of his underwear to show a Paddy Power logo during a goal celebration.
A year earlier, the Bulgarian FA were fined just £34,320 after their fans directed monkey chants at England trio Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott and Ashley Young during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia.
In a more recent incident, the Montenegrin FA were fined just £17,396 and ordered to play one game behind closed doors following their racially abusing England’s Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The reality is, UEFA are more interested in protecting their cooperate partners than punishing racism.
The continued racism towards black players in Eastern Europe really shows how bad things are outside of the UK.
We saw this week Slavia Prague racially abuse former Arsenal player Glen Kamara. The response from Slavia Prague was disgraceful.
These clubs and countries do not recognise the acts of their players and fans as racist because they are normalised actions.
They put out statements saying “we did nothing wrong” because they genuinely believe that there is nothing wrong with the comments or chants.
We often forget how tolerant a society the UK is.
I get highlight offended when people attempt to label the UK as some sort of racist hell hole. It really is not. Go spend a minute in Eastern Europe or Russia. Then you will see racist hell holes.
Arsenal have drawn Slavia Prague in the next round of the Europa League. I expect Arsenal’s black players to be racially abused. I expect UEFA to brush it under the carpet.
UEFA need to stand up properly against these offenders. Ban the clubs from entering European competition. Ban the countries from European Champions or World Cups.
I stand with Glen Kamara, and with any other player racially abused.
I would rather Arsenal walk off the pitch against Slavia Prague and forfeit the game rather than play under the expected torrent of racist abuse.
And maybe that is what is needed? A big club to make a stand. To walk off.
Would UEFA then award the game to the racists? Would they demand it replayed in front of an empty stadium? Or would they do the right thing and award the game to the club taking the stand.
Watch this space.