UEFA showed last night their will to stamp racism out of the game of football in Europe by banning Anderlecht’s Nenad JeÅ¡troviÄ‡ for three games after his alleged racist comments at Anfield last week.
JeÅ¡troviÄ‡ had only arrived on the pitch five minutes earlier, and after a minor clash with Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko he was overheard by the match referee hurling abuse at Sissoko. The referee said that the abuse was racist and sent the player off.
According to the UEFA website, “UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Committee found that the Anderlecht player had used a racially-motivated insult during an angry exchange with Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko in the 75th minute of the Group G game at Anfield.”
Anderlecht have two games left in Group G which the Serbo-Montenegrin will miss. He’ll also miss the next European game he’s otherwise eligible for, which is likely to be next season.
UEFA say the 29-year-old attacker is allowed to lodge an appeal, before midnight this Thursday. This sounds unlikely though, with the player commenting: “I accept the decision but I was on a losing ticket as the referee’s report said one thing, I said another. I am not a racist but unfortunately I don’t matter and the referee does.”
Last week in the aftermath of the sending off the player said he was at a loss to explain why the referee had acted in such a way, saying: “I don’t understand why the referee sent me off. Sissoko didn’t hear it and he looked surprised when I was sent off.”
TV coverage actually showed Sissoko looking in surprise at the comments being made, and then looking at the referee who was just a couple of yards away at the time. JeÅ¡troviÄ‡ was adamant he’d done no wrong, saying, “I participate in all the anti-racism events we have at Anderlecht and it’s difficult for me to think that everyone thinks I’m a racist, especially because I want to play in England one day. I like everyone and it’s not important to me what colour people are.”
The referee in question was Kim Milton Nielsen.
* UEFA will be holding a hearing for Middlesbrough defender Abel Xavier after his “B Sample” once again tested positive for a banned substance. The former Liverpool player had been tested positive in his original sample when the first test was taken on September 29th. The test game after Boro’s Uefa Cup clash with Xanthi. The hearing is set for 17th November and could see the player banned for at least a year. The player himself says he is stunned at the result, and feels there must be a simple explanation.