Date:Thursday November 2 2006
After UEFA`s exemplarily response in issuing Wisla Krakow`s Nikola Mijailovic with a five-match ban for his racist abuse of Rovers` Benni McCarthy, it is reassuring to see that they have stood firm and rejected Wisla`s plea against the suspension. Mr. Mijailovic will now, definitely, serve his sentence.
The abuse was continuous throughout Rovers` hard-fought victory in Poland, with aggressive scenes at the final whistle threatening to take the gloss off an excellent display.
Rovers were quick to report the incident; backing McCarthy one hundred percent. UEFA were equally rapid in their response and after hearing the case from both players and examining the referee`s report their Control and Discipline Committee decided to issue 24-year-old Mijailovic with his ban.
They considered Wisla`s plea to have the suspension removed but decided to uphold the decision on Wednesday.
Uefa spokesman William Gaillard said on Wednesday:
"This is the first case to be heard since Uefa changed its disciplinary statutes in line with Fifa's new guidelines on racism in football. Any player found guilty of racial abuse will be banned for five matches in the case of a first offence, unless they can offer a credible defence such as, for example, not being able to speak the language that they are accused of having abused the other person in."
French side and fellow Group E challengers A S Nancy Lorraine will wear anti-racism slogans when they face Wisla on Thursday. It is unfortunate for Wisla, as a club, because they have been tarnished by the actions of a single player.
UEFA and Blackburn Rovers need to be commended for their professional and rapid response in dealing with such an issue. A lot is made about removing incidents such as these from the game and society in general and it is fantastic to see UEFA support the work of Rovers in condemning Wisla`s Serbian in the best possible way in football.
Everyone connected with Blackburn Rovers can now put this unfortunate and unnecessary incident behind them and concentrate on another solid European showing against F C Basel.
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Date:Thursday November 2 2006
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