bill-swift - June 20, 2012
One of the cool things about the UEFA, the governing body for soccer in Europe, is that they don't take any crap from the different national associations and teams. If someone screws up, whether it's a player or the fans, the UEFA is quick to hand down the fines and even penalize a team points towards qualifying.
Can you imagine if every time an NFL team had a player that got in trouble with the law the team was fined or if a fight broke out in the stands the team was docked a win in the standings? Not that I'm trying to give Roger Goodell any ideas or anything…but I digress.
The UEFA has been busy over the last week handing down punishments for various things, many of which they had warned teams of prior to the 2012 Euros. Most of the fines have been to various associations, but the stiffest was recently laid on an individual player, Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner.
During his team's match with Portugal on Wednesday, June 13, Bendtner scored a goal. Like most soccer players, he celebrated the deed and that is what got him in trouble. It's not that the UEFA is against celebrations; it's the method they disagreed with.
He pulled his pants down enough to show the name of a popular gambling site on his underwear (Paddy Power). That little stunt cost him a cool $125,797 and a one game suspension (in a World Cup qualifier).
Yes, the UEFA has deemed it offensive that he showed off part of his underwear, much in the same way that kids where their pants in the U.S. every day (or maybe it was the whole gambling site thing; they just said improper conduct).
Apparently it is worse than fans throwing fireworks onto the field and invading the pitch (Croatia; $31,449 fine), racist conduct (Croatia again; $15,094). At least Russia got fined more after the beatings that stadium stewards received following their match against the Czech Republic.
So droopy drawers/illegal sponsorship bad; racist chants and violence not so bad. The only way the decisions the UEFA are making could be any worse is if Roger Goodell was in charge.