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During a qualifying Dogs Make Me Happy Humans Make My Head Hurt shirt . match for Euro 2020, some of England’s Black players were subjected to abhorrent racist abuse by large a section of Bulgaria fans, causing the game to be halted twice. The sounds of monkey chants and images of fans performing Nazi salutes were broadcast around the world and many believed this would be a seminal moment in football’s ongoing fight against racism. However, UEFA, European football’s governing body, was widely criticized for the one-game stadium ban and $83,000 fine it handed Bulgaria for the racist abuse, a punishment many deemed wholly inadequate, in particular as Bulgaria was already in the middle of a partial stadium ban for a previous incident of racism.
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Anti-racism organization Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA), among others, argued that the lack of Black, Asian and minority ethnic representatives on UEFA’s disciplinary panel was the root cause of the ineffective punishment it was handing out to federations for racist abuse Dogs Make Me Happy Humans Make My Head Hurt shirt . In response, UEFA this year finally appointed former professional footballers Bobby Barnes and Célia Šašić as the first Black members on its Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body. The PFA said Barnes has “vowed to demand a new hard-line approach on racism within” football and said incidents of racist abuse had not been dealt with to an “acceptable standard.” “UEFA has also developed the Master for International Players (MIP) to allow ex-players, including those from BAME backgrounds, to be able to access positions with responsibilities in a quicker way,” the organization told CNN Sport. UEFA also says it is “working closely with the FARE network to launch joint initiatives across Europe and not only in countries where racist incidents have been noticed,” given what happened in Bulgaria a year ago. Last year, UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin also said he wanted to organize a meeting with current players to discuss the issue of racism in the game and solicit feedback on what measures need to be taken to address the issue. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, UEFA says this has been delayed. But the incident last October didn’t just have consequences in Bulgaria, which saw its head coach and head of the football federation resign, it also forced English football into a moment of introspection. Several incidents of racism had marred various levels of the sport and on the same day Bulgaria was handed its fine by UEFA, an English FA Cup match was being replayed after the first game was abandoned due to racist abuse from fans towards players.
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