By Margaryta Chornokondratenko
(Reuters) – Ukrainian soccer’s governing body has defended its decision to hand Shakhtar Donetsk’s Taison a one-match ban, saying the Brazilian midfielder needed to be held accountable for his reaction to racist abuse from the crowd.
Taison, 31, made a gesture towards Dynamo Kiev fans and kicked the ball into the stands after hearing the abuse during Shakhtar’s 1-0 win this month.
The player was shown a red card for the incident.
“Why it was important to hold the player accountable for such behaviour? Because the gesture… was also broadcast on TV,” Igor Gryshchuk, secretary of control and disciplinary committee of the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF), said on Friday.
“We understand that the player addressed it to the stalls only and to the fans who expressed certain emotions against him – but those who watched the game on TV, including the children, could not perceive the gesture in a proper way.
“In any case, this behaviour and reaction deserved a red card, referee did a right thing when he used it, in our opinion. That’s why the player had to be held accountable.”
World players’ union FIFPro had asked for the red card to be overturned but the UAF confirmed a one-match ban and a conditional two-match suspension on Thursday.
FIFPro has since expressed their disappointment over the decision and said such sanctions play into the hands of “those who promote this kind of disgraceful behaviour.”
Gryshchuk, however, said the UAF was lenient with the sanctions.
“Regular punishment for such an action, for such gestures is a three-match ban,” he added.
“But taking into account all circumstances of the case, all mitigating circumstances, addresses by our colleagues from the FIFPro and that this behaviour was provoked by fans’ racist chants, we used the mildest sanction.”
(Reporting by Margaryta Chornokondratenko; Writing by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)