Football racism fight on hold as UEFA fails to agree new deal with anti-discrimination partner

People place messages of support on top of bin liners that were taped over offensive wording on the mural of Manchester United striker and England player Marcus Rashford on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington, which appeared vandalised the morning after the England football team lost the UEFA Euro 2021 final. Picture date: Monday July 12, 2021.
People place messages of support on top of bin liners that were taped over offensive wording on the mural of Manchester United striker and England player Marcus Rashford on the wall of the Coffee House Cafe on Copson Street, Withington, which appeared vandalised the morning after the England football team lost the UEFA Euro 2021 final. Picture date: Monday July 12, 2021.

UEFA claim to have been relying on reports from its own staff to monitor social media activity during its fixtures

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UEFA have come under scrutiny for failing to identify, monitor and punish fans spouting extreme and offensive views, with as many as 80 high-risk matches being played this season without monitoring.

It is understood that every high-risk match so far this season has taken place without the usual undercover monitors of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network. Since 2013, FARE have partnered with UEFA to monitor and gather evidence of any discriminatory incident directed at players and fans within European football matches.

However, both parties have failed to renew a contract meaning that despite claims that rooting out racism is an important part of football administrators agenda, up to 80 UEFA fixtures so far have been played without surveillance for racial abuses, extreme-nationalism or anti-Semitism.

UEFA claim to have been relying on reports from its own staff to monitor social media activity during its fixtures.

In a statement, UEFA said: “The contract with FARE for providing match observers is currently being renewed and therefore no external observers were deployed at UEFA matches, nevertheless, FARE continues to submit reports in case of alleged incidents to UEFA.

"Similarly, all UEFA officials, e.g. UEFA Delegate, UEFA Security Officer etc, submit a post-match report with incidents to UEFA… "Once the discussions with FARE have been concluded, their normal service will resume.”

FARE’s contract with football's world governing body FIFA is still active, and so monitors will be in operation at various World Cup qualifying matches in Europe over the international break.