Yesterday was a sad day for football for two contrasting reasons. The farce in Poland was remarkable, and the scene in Serbia was horrendous. FIFA has to show authority now and put an end to the issues that are ruining the images of these countries.
The England game, which was due to kick off yesterday at 8 p.m. UK time had to be postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. But this was not a problem. The real issues were the amount of time it took to cancel the game and the way the decision was made, which was rather comical.
Anyone who saw the site of the pitch before kickoff would tell you that this game was never going to be played. However, the referee in charge had other ideas. He chose to march onto the pitch with a football and throw it in the air to see if it would bounce.
Half an hour later, an official decision still had not been made and the referee came out again to bounce the ball on the pitch. At that stage, it had been raining so much that the ball did not even move when the referee attempted a pass.
The most baffling aspect of this situation was that during the half-hour period, no groundsmen were on the field to drain the water out. And to make the situation more ridiculous, the stadium had a roof!
The roof was left open throughout the day, even though heavy rain was forecasted. Last night, it seemed that no one wanted to take charge. FIFA has to fix this. Poland made themselves look a bit foolish last night. Someone should have taken charge and closed the roof.
I do not understand how match officials, who have important roles in making crucial decisions, could not make a firm decision that this game should have been officially cancelled before 10 p.m. UK time.
FIFA has a serious job on their hands in making sure that something like this never happens again. It must recognize that travelling fans pay a lot of money and they need information as soon as possible, especially when a game is clearly going to be cancelled. FIFA needs to properly instruct those in charge of stadiums what to do in this kind of situation.
Poland is not the only country with a tarnished image. Serbia's was negatively affected in the England U21s game. At the end of the game, there was a large scuffle involving the players and the Serbian fans.
Throughout the game, the English players were subject to racial abuse that included monkey chants. After the game, it seemed players and fans confronted each other, and Danny Rose was the centre of attention.
It was a sad, regrettable scene. FIFA is working hard to stop racism in football. Managers should not tolerate such abuse. Any display of racism during a match should be addressed to avoid similar clashes at the end.
Serbia's image has been tarnished by football hooligans. It is important that people note that these fans are not a representation of Serbia as a nation. But the majority will always suffer because of the minority.
It is time for FIFA to step up its authority in the game so we don't have events like those of yesterday.
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