European football matches with high risk of racist abuse have been played without independent observers in place – despite UEFA’s commitment to root out abuse – because contract has not been agreed with monitoring organisation
- ITV News has doscovered UEFA’s deal with the FARE Network has expired
- Eighty matches have been played this season with no monitors in place
- FARE records abusive behaviour and provides reports to game’s administrators
- It does have agreement in place with FIFA and monitors reported on England’s match in Hungary after racist abuse was seen in Budapest in Septmeber
Eighty ‘high-risk’ European football matches have gone ahead without independent observers to record racism or other forms of abuse after UEFA failed to agree a new contract with the monitoring organisation.
Despite racism being a key priority for football’s governing bodies, it has emerged that the matches where there is an expectation of abuse have not been scrutinised.
Since 2013, Football Against Racism in Europe, known as the FARE network, has recruited and trained independent spotters who attend matches and record abusive behaviour among spectators.
Rangers have written to UEFA to complain about the treatment of Glen Kamara in Prague
The material, which includes accounts and recordings, is used in evidence to hold clubs and fans to account.
Under the arrangement, FARE undertakes a risk assessment of each match and flags those encounters where there is a high risk of abuse. With the agreement of UEFA the organisation then sends delegates to monitor proceedings.
However, ITV news has discovered that UEFA has failed at agree a new contract with FARE and no monitors have been sent to any fixtures this season, meaning eighty matches have been affected.
Last week, Rangers wrote to UEFA to complain about the treatment of Glen Kamara in their Europa League defeat to Sparta Prague.
Kamara was booed by a crowd of mostly schoolchildren at the match, six months after he was racially abused by Ondrej Kudela of Sparta’s local rivals, Slavia Prague.
Kamara was booed by a crowd mostly consisting of schoolchildren against Sparta Prague
Sparta released a statement in which they claimed ‘unfounded accusations of racism’ were ‘ridiculous’, despite the toxic atmosphere inside the ground.
And Czech foreign minister Jakub Kulhanek, said he would summon British ambassador Nick Archer over the incident. Writing on social media, Kulhanek claimed ‘disgusting insults’ aimed at ‘Czech children’ could harm relations between the countries.
In similar incidents, FARE’s independent monitors have proved particularly valuable.
FARE does have a contract in place with the sport’s global body, FIFA, and monitors were present at England’s World Cup qualifier away to Hungary in September.
Winger Sterling was subjected to monkey chants by sections of the home crowd in Budapest
Monitors submitted a report to FIFA following the game in Budapest, which was marred by racist abuse of England players, including monkey chants directed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham.
After that game, the Hungarian foreign minister, Peter Sziijarto, was also vocal on social media defending fans.
UEFA told ITV: ‘The contract with FARE for providing match observers is currently being renewed and therefore no external observers were deployed at UEFA matches.
‘Nevertheless, FARE continues to submit reports in case of alleged incidents to UEFA.
‘Similarly, all UEFA officials, e.g. UEFA Delegate, UEFA Security Officer etc, submit a post-match report with incidents to UEFA.
‘Once the discussions with FARE have been concluded, their normal service will resume.’