Today, the governing body of UEFA who has previously sworn a 'war on racism' issued a feeble £65,000 fine to the Croatian football association for racist chanting and unacceptable behaviour. This came about following Croatian supporters throwing a banana at Mario Balotelli and making monkey noises at him during their Euro 2012 clash against Italy last week in Poznan.
Marion Balotelli was subjected to similar racist abuse when Manchester City faced FC Porto in the Europa League last season, a fine of £16,400 was issued. Other fines for racism include a £16,500 for Serbia in 2007 and £10,000 for Croatia in 2008.
But none of those even somes close to Bendtner's fine. UEFA deemed it necessary to fine Nicklas Bendtner £80,000 (£15,000 more than Croatia recieved for racial hatred) for giving exposure to a company that isn't an official sponsor of the tournament on his underpants.
A Paddy Power spokesperson released a statement: 'We are appalled with the severity of Nicklas Bendtner’s fine for displaying Paddy Power on the waistband of his lucky underpants recently. And added. 'We will be contacting Mr Bendtner to offer our full support for his appeal'
I have to say this move strikes me as a cynical tactic motivated by pure greed and commercialism. It would seem as though this hefty fine is to set an example and squash any repeat performances of any other would-be advertising opportunist. Surely it's plain to see that this fine for Bendtner (who has also been banned for a match) is a far greater punishment than recent UEFA penalties for much more serious incidents.
This is just the latest bizare ruling in a string of seemingly money orientated decisions that have raised questions as to weather or not the likes of FIFA and UEFA actually have football at the for front of their minds. FIFA's desion to select Qatar, a desert nation with no infastructure or even football fan base as the 2022 World Cup host nation, being the most notable.
Perhaps UEFA needs to start making its priorities clear. Whilst it proclaims to wage a war on racism, the organisation is clearly still far more concerned with protecting it's cash flow.