Racism has been highlighted within football culture throughout the global sport’s progression.
Students voiced their opinions and experiences regarding footballers, managers and fans who have promoted and suffered from the effects of racism.
Sebastian Abella, 21, from Madrid, Spain said, “I support Real Madrid. I think the values of the team are great. It’s my team for life. However, I wouldn’t stop supporting them if they were racially motivated. I think it can be seen that during the 1998 World Cup, the French National Football Team had only about four 100 percent French players on the team. However I think racism is less common and important than what the media tries to portray.”
During the past weeks and months, there were incidents during the England National Football Team‘s match in Sofia, Bulgaria where players Theo Walcott, Ashley Cole and Ashley Young were taunted by Bulgarian fans with Nazi salutes during the match.
Photo from The Daily Mail.
Then there was an altercation between Uruguayan Liverpool striker, Luis Suarez and Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Suarez allegedly said racist remarks to Evra during the match. Yet, the referee was not told about the assault on the pitch. Manchester United stood by their teammate as Evra pursued his case. Then Liverpool made a statement that if Evra was not able to provide witness statements of evidence, they would challenge the FA to accuse him of malicious allegation. The FA is working on looking at pictures and videos to interpret lip reading and body language between the players. The case is still in transition.
Photo from Newstateman.
Photo from The Guardian.
Eluid Ortiz, 19, from Carmel, California who supports FC Barcelona for their games of quick passing and fluid movement said, ” As a player, one is trained to ignore comments from players and fans, but it still happens. Just remember Zidane in 2006. Materazzi knew what he was doing. I think racism is a big deal because racist comments can hurt a player psychologically, resulting in poor performance. Race is something a person can’t change, which makes it all the more hurtful. Honestly, I think football unites different people and the world is well aware of that but as long as everyone is different, someone is bound to make a comment regarding race. I think it’s dumb for players to get in arguments in general though and it’s unacceptable. Whether Suarez or Evra is telling the truth, the fact that the argument is about race should be taken seriously. It’s good that the FA demanded video evidence of the incident, and it did a good job in making this important. Still when things like this happen, the focus drifts away from the game itself.”
Many footballers and fans try to make the prime focus the sport. After all, that’s why you go to the pub, stadium or someone’s house to watch a game. Nevertheless, there are times when you can’t get away from that type of situation. So there are anti-racist campaign groups which aim to educate and encourage people to know more about minorities in football such as Kick It Out and Show Racism: the Red Card. These groups are determined to tackle football discrimination. Several high profile footballers who have been victims of racism have spoken out including Samuel Eto’o who said,”Racism is something created and anything that has been created can be undone.” from Show Racism: the Red Card site.
Football is a spectator sport which should be enjoyed by the footballers and fans regardless of race. Nevertheless, there are assaults on players and by fans to players. Student Marcus Marinos, 20, from Greece said, ” I support Paok for their atmosphere in the stadium. At times, I have seen supporters go to the stadium with aggression towards the other team especially when there are Greeks and Albanians involved during the matches.”
There have been many accounts and for some reason abroad. There have been major racism cases throughout Europe including 3 in Belgium, 5 in France, 13 in Germany, 5 in Italy, 1 in Lithuania, 2 in Montenegro, 6 in the Netherlands, 3 in Norway, 3 in Poland, 5 in Russia, 4 in Serbia, 5 in Slovakia, 8 in Spain and 1 in Sweden. Well student, Alex Beola, 20, from New York said, “I support FC Barcelona since it’s my family’s team. I think racism will always be apart of the game due to ignorant fans. If anything there should be harsher bans to players and fans who have committed racist offenses.”
According to the FA Discipline Handbook 2011/12 Season, players who commit these offenses are usually fined up to the maximum £14,000 charge or suspended while fans are banned from stadiums. Student Robert Manukyan, 19 from Yerevan, Armenia, said, “I support Manchester United, an attractive team with an old school feel to them. I think football is apart of global culture. Racism is a side effect of it. It’s necessary to stop racism in the world first to get it out of football.” Robert was also a victim of racial slurs in association with football.
From the start though, football players should set an example for fans. If they behave irresponsibly, it will be reflected in the fans as they are seen as role models who would then set to promote nationalism, fascism, hooliganism which would spread across cultural communities internationally. Student, Hamad Al-Khamees, 19, from Kuwait said, “I support Athletico Madrid and will continue to no matter how many campaigns are held. Racism is an ugly part of the game and I have been a victim of it while playing in Madrid, Spain being the only non-Spanish player.” And these are only students expressing how they feel about the issue from around the world.
Photo from the Daily Mail.
As recent as last weekend, there was an anti-racism promotional event during weekend matches where England National Team Captain and Chelsea center back defender, John Terry apparently missed the point. Terry has been accused of racist allegations against Anton Ferdinand but is fighting the assumption of him saying, ‘Black C***” on live television. The previous youtube videos I saw have now been removed so if you were wondering I don’t know how to get footage of it now. The FA is currently investigating the racist slur allegation and the context in which it was used according to the Telegraph.
There are now high profile professional players worried about how they will be treated in future international matches like the 2018 World Cup matches in Eastern European countries, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. Student Anders Woeggsborg, 19 from Copenhagen, Denmark, said, “It is significant to eradicte racism first to make the football environment decent.” The behavior remains to be seen.