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News 26 Jul 11

Romanian Football Fined For Fans’ Mladic Taunt

Romania's football federation has been fined after football fans taunted Bosnia's national team with posters in support of the alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Marian Chiriac

The Union of European Football Associations, UEFA, has fined Romania's football federation 15,000 euro after fans displayed a banner supporting alleged Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic.

Last month, Romanian fans displayed the banner, which read "Free Mladic", at a 2012 European Championship qualifier in Bucharest against Bosnia-Herzegovina, just one day after the Bosnian Serb military commander appeared before judges in The Hague for the first time ahead of his trial on war crimes charges.

UEFA rules prohibit displays of racism during matches and also any political slogans during sporting events.

Mladic was arrested by Serbian police in May and handed over to the International Crininal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY. The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army is charged with genocide in connection with the slaughter of about 8,000 Bosniak [Muslim] men and boys in Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia, in 1995, among other crimes.

Romanian authorities are trying to take both racism and violence in stadiums very seriously. Several clubs have been fined following incidents of racist abuse, though UEFA hasn’t banned any teams for chanting.

Five years ago, UEFA imposed a fine of 16,000 euro against Steaua football club after its fans shouted racist chants and displayed banners against a footballer from Ireland's team who is of African origin.

Furthermore, there are often reports in the press about displays of racism during football matches, including banners against "Hungarians” or “crows” an abusive name for Roma.

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