Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Markovic fine upheld - but is it enough?

What price a bigot?

The Justin Campaign has long been critical of Vlatko Markovic, the Croatian football federation president.

Last year the 74-year-old said in an interview that a gay player wouldn't play for Croatia while he led the federation.

He added he had never met a gay player because "only healthy people play football."

It sparked outrage not only from LGBT campaigners but also from football fans.

Uefa took the decision to punish one of the most powerful men in European football with a fine of $14,500.

When you consider the vast sums of money that the Croatian FA earns in a year through a variety of sponsorship deals and international game revenue then this amount was hardly a drop in the Adriatic Sea.

But still the footballing bureaucrat, who has since been re-elected to serve a fourth four-year term, decided to appeal the fine and attempt to get it overturned.

Thankfully, Uefa has seen sense and decided to uphold the punishment.

It is pleasing to see Uefa stand up to the diplomats who help fund its organisation.

If this ban had been overturned then completely the wrong message would have been sent out to football fans across the continent.

While the fine could have been a lot more, at least it still stands and is a firm sign that such comments are not welcome from those who run the game.

For if that is the message from the top, then what hope is there for those at the bottom looking for leadership.

But could Uefa not take a stronger stance and make this man stand down?

Their view is obviously no.

Uefa seemingly took the decision that it would be overstepping the mark to remove diplomats who have been elected by contemporaries, such as Markovic.

Any decision to reverse this would have no doubt overthrown the applecart and made its life a lot more difficult in the future.

While it is very easy to oppose this view, pragmatism, it seems, is the winner in this one.

But at least the officials in Switzerland have not completely ducked the issue.

Campaigners, fans, footballing authorities, everyone must work together if we are finally to bring some justice to tackling homophobia in football.

1 comment:

  1. He should be fired and not be able to work in the football world again, but I'm glad he at least got a fine, though it's probably mere pennies for him.