QPR chiefs Lee Hoos and Les Ferdinand have criticised FIFA and UEFA’s handling of racism incidents, including fan trouble during England’s game in Bulgaria, saying the two bodies are “incapable of governing”.
On Tuesday, UEFA hit the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU) with a two-match stadium ban and £64,650 fine for the racist behaviour of their fans during the European Qualifier against England, with the ruling met by widespread criticism by the public.
QPR’s U18 team walked off the pitch during a friendly against Spanish side AD Nervion in August after suffering alleged abuse from opposition players, but the club are still awaiting a decision from FIFA on the incident.
“Both FIFA and UEFA seem to treat complaints about racism like a complaint about a broken seat in a stadium,” QPR’s CEO Lee Hoos said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“I am left confused, frustrated and incredibly angry that more than 10 weeks after we lodged our complaint of racism, we are still awaiting a decision. Despite the seriousness of this issue, it took seven weeks and the personal intervention of Greg Clarke – the chairman of the FA and vice-chairman of FIFA – to get a response from FIFA.
“Let’s not forget, the level of racism was so severe that it led to an U18s game being abandoned. Our players deserve better than that. PEOPLE deserve to be treated better than that.
“There were a substantial number of people within the game who warned me at the time that this issue would be swept under the carpet and I am appalled to see this appears to be the case. I am disgusted, embarrassed and dismayed to call them our governing bodies when they are incapable of governing.
“There have been repeated reports of racism in southern Spain and that is something that sporting clubs should be aware of before taking their teams there.”
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand added: “Yet again, FIFA and UEFA have failed to deal with this issue – and they haven’t just failed the players subjected to racist abuse, they have failed every BAME fan who wants to go and enjoy football.”
‘Something drastic has to happen’
Former FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce added to the widespread criticism of the punishment handed to Bulgaria, saying football’s governing body should adopt a three-strike system for racist incidents.
“I thought it was very lenient, I’ve got to be honest,” Boyce said. “I have been someone who has always been very outspoken, whether that be racism or sectarianism in any shape or form.
“I think that some of these countries have been warned. They’ve been continuously warned yet it still continues. My own personal feeling is that after three warnings for racism the stadium should be closed for a minimum of three matches to the home supporters.
“I don’t think it’s fair that the away supporters should be penalised because if they want to go and see their country or team playing, I don’t think it’s fair that they should be punished.
“I do believe that something drastic has to happen. This can’t go on and quite honestly a one-match ban was a big surprise, especially as it has been happening on several occasions. I think they should make a punishment to fit the crime.