UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has released a statement assuring fans the governing body would do 'everything it can' to eliminate racism from football, conceding there has been some complacency in the ranks in recent times before urging a 'war on the racists'.
Speaking to the press in the aftermath of Boris Mihaylov's resignation from the Bulgarian Football Union following the abhorrent scenes in the Euro 2020 qualifier against England on Monday night, Ceferin was eager to stamp down on the issue.
"Believe me, UEFA is committed to doing everything it can to eliminate this disease from football," he said, as quoted by Sporting Life.
"We cannot afford to be content with this, we must always strive to strengthen our resolve. More broadly, the football family - everyone from administrators to players, coaches and fans - needs to work with governments and NGOs [non-governmental organisations] to wage war on the racists and to marginalise their abhorrent views to the fringes of society.
"Football associations themselves cannot solve this problem. Governments too need to do more in this area."
He then conceded: "There were times, not long ago, when the football family thought that the scourge of racism was a distant memory.
"The last couple of years have taught us that such thinking was, at best, complacent. The rise of nationalism across the continent has fuelled some unacceptable behaviour and some have taken it upon themselves to think that a football crowd is the right place to give voice to their appalling views."
However, he was later bullish when asked about the current protocol, which accounts for two stoppages in play and two stadium announcements before any walk-off can be enacted.
“UEFA’s sanctions are toughest in sport for clubs + associations whose supporters are racist at matches. The minimum sanction is a partial closure of the stadium – which costs the hosts at least hundreds of thousands in lost revenue + attaches stigma to their supporters”— Simon Stone (@sistoney67) October 15, 2019
As quoted by Simon Stone on Twitter, he affirmed: “As a governing body, I know we are not going to win any popularity contests. But some of the views expressed about UEFA’s approach to fighting racism have been a long way off the mark.
“UEFA’s sanctions are toughest in sport for clubs and associations whose supporters are racist at matches. The minimum sanction is a partial closure of the stadium – which costs the hosts at least hundreds of thousands in lost revenue and attaches stigma to their supporters."