Doubleplusgood Serb fans bravely endure unwin. Ungood for England as Rose redful.

There was a spectacular finish to yesterday’s UEFA U21 Championship Play-Off match between Serbia and England. The problem is that the spectacle took place after the final whistle had blown.

For 93 minutes England held on to a narrow 1-0 lead which they had earned in the first leg on English soil on 12 October. Then, in stoppage time, as a last ditch attempt to get a goal and force the extra period, the Serbs sent their keeper up on a set piece. England bravely defended again and on the counter attack scored the only goal of the game as Connor Wickham rolled the ball into the empty net.

What happened next is not up for debate. Enraged by the fact that their under 21 team had just been knocked out of the tournament, the Serbian supporters went apeshit, literally. They started throwing objects onto the field and making monkey noises at any black player who came near them. Meanwhile, the Serbian coaching staff responded to this fan violence in the only way that makes any sense, by headbutting a member of the England staff.

England player Danny Rose heard the monkey chants directed at him and kicked a ball into the stands out of anger. Naturally, the referee, hearing the monkey chants directed at a black player and seeing the stadium on the verge of a race riot, reacted in the only way that makes any sense and gave Danny Rose a red card and had the player escorted off the pitch under a hail of monkey chants, audible in this fan-taken video:

The Danny Rose video went viral within minutes of the final whistle and before the players’ boots were cleaned of the filth they had just been forced to walk through, UEFA published their match report. Here’s a screen grab of the report from 16 October, 22:36 CET.

Note that nowhere in the report do they mention missiles being thrown on the field, the riot that nearly happened, the Serbian coaching staff attacking the English staff, nor the disgusting racism that everyone endured.

No, instead, the initial UEFA report only ever refers to the poisonous atmosphere at the stadium in positive terms. Calling them “the well-supported home team” and their supporters “fervent home fans”. And what of the near race-riot that happened? “The only negative for England was that Rose saw red for a second yellow.”

I say initial report because within moments of me pointing out that their report was employing Newsspeak they ninja edited the report to remove the lines about “fervent home fans” and they have since edited the report again to remove mention of Rose’s red card. Perhaps they removed the mention of the red card because the referee rescinded the red card or perhaps because the minutes after the match are being conveniently erased from history.

This entire episode marks disturbing trends in humanity’s ever-growing online presence. In the days of print newspapers, editing a published piece was difficult. Once the original article had been published, the paper had to write an entire retraction or at the very least a small blurb somewhere admitting that they got the facts wrong. These days, articles are written and re-edited all of the time. In fact, I would go as far as to say that any article published online should be considered “under review” until the first 1000 hits when the population has a chance to edit and fact-check it for the author. Any author with integrity will put the changes in-line with strikeouts and bolds in order to highlight the facts they got wrong.

But as we already know, UEFA have no integrity. Racial abuse like that suffered by Danny Rose and others in Serbia last night is unfortunately all too common at these international matches. And before you tell me that it has gotten better, perhaps it has, but if it even happens once in the year of our lord 2012 it’s happened once too many times. But the fact is that racial abuse happens enough that UEFA have a campaign against racism in football. You don’t have a campaign against something that happens once in a blue moon. UEFA knows they have a problem.

The day before the Serbian racial assault took place, UEFA unironically announced a partnership with FARE and that “next week’s (Champions League) fixtures will not be just about football. It will also be a forum where Europe’s biggest teams and their supporters will make their stand against any form of discrimination in football.”

UEFA’s President, Michel Platini was clear about his organization’s goals regarding racism and other forms of discrimination, stating ”UEFA is committed to tackling discrimination in football, and we encourage football fans to join us in our efforts to value respect for players, officials, opponents and fellow supporters of all nationalities, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation and ethnic origins.”

But “encouraging” football fans to stop being racist and “value respect” is simply not enough. Sadly, football has come along slowly in regards to racism. Chelsea FC only had their first black player in 1981. Spanish players, to this day, speak openly about the fact that racism is a part of terrace life in Spain. And clearly, racism is alive and well on the terraces in Serbia.

UEFA know they have a problem or they wouldn’t have their “RESPECT” campaign. They know they have a problem or they wouldn’t employ Newsspeak and Ninja Edits to whitewash history in their official reports. Unfortunately the problem for UEFA doesn’t seem to be the actual racism but rather the public relations around the fact they refuse to do anything about racism.


11 thoughts on “Doubleplusgood Serb fans bravely endure unwin. Ungood for England as Rose redful.

  1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    Apparently the Serbs are not happy with the level of “ethnic cleansing” they have already achieved. I truly believe that Serbia should be banned from future competitions. But will UEFA have the balls to crack down on Spain?

  2. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1BradyWasGod

    Tim, thanks for bringing UEFA’s shameful posturing into the spotlight. The upside to our increased online presence (in addition to the ability to watch live Arsenal games from 5000 miles away, and spout our personal opinions to the world on blogs like yours) is that video evidence like the clips you show is impossible to suppress, and makes those who try to do so look both ridiculous and hypocritical.

    Racism in football is a reflection of the racism of a society. I remember when Viv Anderson was the first (?) black player playing top-flight football in England back in the 70′s, he came in for torrents of abuse (and fruit) from the hard-core skinheads and their wannabe followers on the terraces, but it was always a small (albeit loud) minority that was driven to some extent by the novelty, and could hide behind the anonymity of the crowd. I’m sure there are still racist elements in Britain, but these days they come across as sad and deluded because the rest of society has moved on (John Terry notwithstanding). What’s worrying about the Serbia situation is that racist attitudes seem to be the norm, a microcosm of the nationalistic and violent elements that dominate the country as a whole. And even more worrying is what it says about UEFA and their lack of meaningful action when it comes to dealing with this kind of behavior…

  3. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Greg

    The finals of this competition are taking place in Israel, where the notoriously racist Beitar Jerusalem fans recently went on a rampage through a shopping mall beating up Arabs… and where there have been race riots in Tel Aviv, the homes of Sudanese refugees attacked with molotov cocktails, and the same refugees described by members of parliament as “a cancer” and “infiltrators” with claims that they should be “shot at the border”.

    I don’t mean to single out Israel but race issues run pretty deep in that society, as they do in others. Given the additional political controversies in that part of the world I can foresee a few problems for the finals.

    I can also foresee that UEFA will do nothing, as they remain pathetic on this and any other matter of principle, because their only principle is to keep palms greased and keep the money flowing.

  4. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Micheal

    The first time Serbia got a derisory fine for racism, will they be banned? I wouldn’t hold my breath.
    Danny Rose apparently spoke to an official during the warm up about the abuse, and was told, that they would look into it after the match. Big deal.
    Was the referee stone deaf, why didn’t he call it off?
    It seems the show must go on, with a don’t rock the boat mentality.

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Great post, Tim, and I think I am beyond outrage at this point.

    Bosnian Serbs conducted genocide in Srebrenica not even twenty years ago, so maybe this is progress.

    Tomorrow, please post something, anything positive about the human condition or at least football. The mighty Arsenal is a great place to start.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    Uefa come look see the Serbs are doing their tiresome racist behavior at a football match thing again and again and again.

    Serbia FA: racists, racists, we have no stinkin’ racists in Serbia.

    Uefa: see no racist , hear no racists, speak of no racists.

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1nycgunner

    What you saying? UEFA’s “Fight Against Racism” campaign isn’t working?? But they are “fighting” against racism! Racism is enemy number two! UEFA will eradicate all racism right after they have eradicated enemy #1 – any movement to bring about video technology in the football.

  8. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Cliffy

    Its not UEFAs job to kick out racism from Serbia…but it is UEFA’s job to kick out Serbia from football…if they resort to racist abuse and violence…

    What so ever be the provocation…nothing justifies a retribution which is racist in word or deed…

    Its hard to eradicate racism…and as long as its a minority in a football crowd..I think players need not make a fuss about it..but not to the scale of what we witnessed…

    I think there is good enough reason to impose ban on Serbia for just bad behavior…

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