UEFA Chief Executive Gerhard Aigner spoke today about the "unacceptable face of football" and said it was part of UEFA's duty to maintain a high standard of on-field conduct.
Call for restraint
In his introductory speech before the draws for the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals and UEFA Cup semi-finals, Mr Aigner called for restraint "from all those involved in the game" after highlighting the unwanted example of the violent scenes which marred the Group B match between AS Roma and Galatsaray SK on 13 March.
Response to the disorder
UEFA's disciplinary committee will announce later today its response to the disorder at the Stadio Olimpico but Mr Aigner told uefa.com: "We're always disappointed when things are not going in a way which should give credit to our game. Obviously incidents of that nature are not positive for football's image.
"We do have occasionally unfortunate incidents which involve tumultuous scenes, but these more often involve spectators. This time it was quite specific, people who normally have access to the interior part of the stadium. We will have to analyse very carefully where the origins for these incidents are but in a way it's quite unique."
'It continued into the tunnel'
Mr Aigner added: "They [UEFA's disciplinary committee] will have to have recourse to video because it was such a big incident. Our individual witnesses cannot have the full picture as it continued right into the tunnel and the dressing-room area."
Need to be vigilant
The UEFA Chief Executive was keen not to paint too dark a picture as he looked ahead to the closing stages of the Champions League and UEFA Cup. However, he said the game's governing bodies had to remain vigilant. "I wouldn't now condemn the general attitude of our players, I think we have a good culture in Europe but we have to be alert," he said. "We have to always apply efforts to maintain the standards and improve them. When we have signals things are going in a way we don't like to see then we have to do something in time. I think this is a part of our duty."
Lack of restraint
One area of concern for Mr Aigner is the "little restraint" shown by players. He cited the example of players "just shouting at the referee throughout the game" and warned that "players and the coaches have to stop it".
Support for referees
Looking at the possible means of maintaining order, Mr Aigner said: "We'll have to create interpretations by the referees to stop this. They need then the backing of the sports authorities. I think they're willing to do it, if they get the backing it will be our task to inform players and team managers and clubs and associations that from next season on you will have to accept this otherwise this will happen. Then that will give enough time for everyone to adapt themselves."
'We cannot act alone'
Mr Aigner underlined that the European governing body would not be able act alone but needed the support of the world's governing body, FIFA. "We cannot deal with it on our own, we have to have FIFA on our side," he said.
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