Here’s some advice for you if you ever get your collar felt by the long arm of the law. However serious the crime, just tell them you’re George Michael or the Croatian Football Federation. Either way you’ll only end up with a slap on the wrist.
Because that is exactly what today’s Fifa fine of £15,000 amounts to.
Yet again, the Croatian FA has been found bang to rights regarding the racist behaviour of their fans and yet again, Fifa have effectively done absolutely zip to put an end to the problem.
In this case, Fifa found that Croatia fans were guilty of racially abusing England’s Emile Heskey when the two countries met in a World Cup qualifier earlier this month. England won 4 – 1.
In a statement, Fifa said: “Racism has no place in football.”
“Fifa is determined to continue broadcasting this message around the globe and deploying all of the means at its disposal to eliminate this form of discrimination.”
Deploying all of the means at its disposal? Many around the world and in the game will find that statement laughable when placed in context with Fifa’s actions.
A fine of £15,000 will achieve nothing as it amounts to nothing. Ordering Croatia to play their next two qualifying games behind closed doors would have been a more suitable punishment, particularly as the Croats have form when it comes to this sort of thing.
In June, they were also fined after being found guilty of showing racist conduct towards Turkey supporters at Euro 2008.
Indeed, being second time offenders, not only should they be forced to play a certain number of games in an empty stadium but they should be on a warning that one more offence will lead to automatic ejection from their World Cup qualifying group.
That’s the only action that will have a bearing deep seated racism. Fifa know it but clearly aren’t willing enough or brave enough to take it.