IT is not our problem.
There can be no other interpretation of Uefa chiefs’ ruling on Bulgaria’s racists after doling out the most pitiful punishment imaginable.
At least we now know, for sure, where Uefa stands on this.
The game is in the grip of an epidemic but European football’s governing body shamefully turned down the chance to make a proper example of Bulgaria yesterday.
To recap — for the benefit of their control, ethics and disciplinary body as much as anybody else — England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia was stopped TWICE because of racist chanting.
The evidence did not turn on whether someone may or may not have heard monkey chants, or whether a fleet of raised hands symbolised Sieg Heil Nazi salutes.
England’s players, along with coaching staff and their official photographer, were all willing to provide testimonies to Uefa.
Even their own ‘spotters’, strategically placed in sections of the crumbling Vasil Levski Stadium that night confirmed everybody’s worst fears.
INSINCERE, TOKEN JUDGEMENT
One game behind closed doors — because that it all this really amounts to — is an insincere, token judgement.
Move on everybody, nothing to see here. They believe a simple banner — SAY NO TO RACISM — displayed at their next two Uefa matches will influence this poisonous mob.
Not really. It is bigger than any banner but Uefa’s ethics chiefs decided it is not for them to start meddling in the ills of their member countries.
Uefa must now appeal against the verdict of their “independent” chamber, with president Aleksander Ceferin making good on his promise to declare war on racism.
It would show leadership and character, highlighting the seriousness of the issue by making sure a tougher stance is taken on Bulgaria.
Ceferin is good at bluff and bluster but not quite so confident on the battleground.
He was after government assistance last month but no credible regime can sit comfortably alongside Uefa.
Ceferin should be forming a committee of influential footballers to gauge the temperature at the elite level.
They should be permanent fixtures on an advisory board, with Uefa taking direction from the stars who have to put up with this.
Sterling’s solution on the pitch was to help England hammer Bulgaria 6-0. Beyond that he should be asked, along with other England players and coaching staff, what punishment is appropriate.
They were the people most affected, visibly shocked when ref Ivan Bebek twice stopped the game over racist chanting.
The players, representing their countries in Uefa sanctioned competitions, ought to be consulted.
They will be bitterly disappointed, responding with emoji eyerolls to each other because Uefa have missed an open goal here.
There was traction worldwide after events in Sofia, with influential voices demanding swift, decisive and tough sanctions.
They have not been heard, certainly by a cowardly group of people meeting to decide Bulgaria’s fate.
They are 75,000 euros lighter after Uefa imposed a fine and they will be without their fans for one game.
Beyond that, Bulgaria and the other bigots in the sport are free to carry on as normal.