Toure charged with exaggeration
Yaya Touré’s Ivory Coast team-mate Seydou Doumbia last night accused the Manchester City player of `clearly exaggerating’ his claims of the racist abuse he suffered at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, as pressure increased on the Romanian referee, Ovidiu Hategan, for failing to stop the match.
Touré was subjected to racist abuse from CSKA Moscow fans during City’s 2-1 win in the Champions League, which he informed the referee about, but CSKA yesterday asserted that their supporters had done nothing wrong. Doumbia, who played up front for CSKA, was the most surprisingly assertive, almost accusing Touré of making up his complaints.
`I didn’t hear anything like that from the CSKA fans,’ said Doumbia, who has 20 caps for Ivory Coast and played with Touré for the national side this summer. `Yes, they are always noisy in supporting the team, and try to put as much pressure as possible on our opponents, but they wouldn’t ever allow themselves to come out with racist chants. So my Ivory Coast colleague is clearly exaggerating.’
Doumbia’s reaction was just as unsympathetic as the rest of CSKA. A club statement said they were `surprised and disappointed’ by the words of Touré and others connected with Manchester City, and that there was no case to answer.
`In many episodes of the encounter, especially with the attacks on our goal, fans made disapproving noises, booed and whistled to put pressure on the opposite side’s players regardless of their race,’ the statement read. `In particular, this happened in the moments with Alvaro Negredo and Edin Dzeko. It is not clear, why Touré took it all personally.’
Uefa, though, opened disciplinary proceedings last night against CSKA Moscow for racist behaviour of their fans and for setting off fireworks. The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control and Disciplinary Body on 30 October.
There was increased pressure on Uefa yesterday — from Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association — over the conduct of the referee Hategan, who should, under guidelines from Uefa, have spoken to officials when the racial abuse was reported to him. Lord Ouseley, the head of Kick It Out, demanded that Hategan be banned. `He failed to do his duty last night and that is a clear issue that Uefa should be dealing with,’ he told the BBC.
Bobby Barnes, deputy chief executive of the PFA, said that Touré could have expected Hategan to stop the game. `The player, having done what was asked of him to notify the referee, quite rightly expected that the referee would go speak with the safety officer, and the [Uefa] protocol agreed is that the safety officer should make a stadium announcement warning the fans that if the chants do not desist that the game will be stopped.’
The criticism of Hategan is due to his failure to enforce the three-point protocol agreed between Uefa, Fifpro — the Professional Footballers’ Union — and the European Clubs Association. If the referee becomes aware of clear racism he shall `stop the game and ask for an announcement to be made over the public address system requesting the public to immediately stop such racist behaviour’. If the racism continues, the referee `shall suspend the match for a reasonable period of time’ and send the teams back into the dressing rooms. The referee can abandon the match as a last resort.
On Wednesday night Hategan did no such thing, failing to act on Touré’s information. Fifpro is trying to find out why. Barnes, who is also Fifpro division Europe president, said that he hoped Uefa would send a message. Russian news agency RIA Novosti has reported Touré also raised the spectre that black players could boycott the 2018 World Cup if there is any repeat. `If we aren’t confident at the World Cup, coming to Russia, we don’t come,’ he was quoted as saying. That stance was last night supported by Piara Powar, executive director of European anti-discrimination body FARE and a FIFA task force member. the independent