Racism in Football

It’s stupid, and as much as I’d like to leave it at that here’s why I cannot. 

It dawned on me the other day whilst thinking about the football players I admire, the fact that I like the game of sport, as well as my enjoyment that is taken away from the game, a game, that should unite people who share one thing in common; football. Now although I’m not a football writer or expertise in the intricacies of football (especially the off-side rule – which I was slowly starting to get but VAR has complicated the issue) I am – a fan. I enjoy watching the Premier League and tune into the World Cup till this day. 

Everyone I knew growing up had a team they supported. People I know now, have their favourites and the point I’m trying to make is that football is going nowhere and hear to stay. So, why oh why is there such a thing as racism in football. Is it a closet thing or does it represent a wider part of a society where racism lies, whether it’s undertones or at work? 

No one can deny there are traits of it here within football in the UK, which in its entirety makes no sense, given the Black players that make up the league alone. From Raheem Sterling (one of the best players in Europe), to Rashford and Lukaku, the list goes on and they’ve all spoken out against racism. Just last month, Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham too. Having missed a penalty against Liverpool in the Super Cup, Abraham went on to say: “I had a lot of abuse…I wasn’t going to shy away from the situation,” continuing “it’s not nice to hear especially seeing your son getting abused.” https://edition.cnn.com/videos/sports/2019/09/09/tammy-abraham-chelsea-racist-abuse-uefa-super-cup-football-spt-intl.cnn 

He continues his stand against racism speaking before his recent game, England V Bulgaria. With the recent England Vs Bulgaria match, there was commotion during the game with chants that could be heard in the crowd. These were in fact – ‘racist chants aimed at England players.’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7578687

It’s appalling and needs to be stamped out, as well as sports in general. More people should be speaking up on it particularly the higher – level-ups. Drilling into people’s minds, that nothing of the sort will be tolerated; such as match bans for the perpetrators, and full support being shown to players who choose to walk off.

The idea to ‘stick it out’ and ‘play on’ is fine, if its the player’s own decision but if a player wanted to walk off, who am I or anyone else to oppose it? If not that, larger fines should be given to the opposing team, maybe that way the coach will be fed up of having to foot the bill due to ignorant fans. If these things continue, I believe everyone (at least in football) should make a stand even if you weren’t a part of it. It was just ‘a few’…or ‘we are not going to let others ruin the game’ might resonate, but not with everyone, not all the time.

Imagine having some type of system in place with 3 strikes and you’re out, no home games. Implement this with away games perhaps; not travelling as an attendee neither, to the point fans would be forced to put up and shut-up rather than missing out. 

Prejudice, discrimination and racism will always be a thing unfortunately and stamping it out completely – well hell would need to freeze over, but there is hope. Hope because we have players that are speaking out and social media that helps to capture; who when what, the why, well maybe a bigger conversation has to happen amongst the association/leagues.’ On the upside, England won 6-0 so what we can take is that with determination and keeping your eye on the prize, you will and can succeed. 

It appears the ‘England manager Gareth Southgate and the FA plan to conduct personal checks on players/staff amongst concerns that the abuse left victims shaken.’ dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-7577189 

Victims being shaken including players being affected is why this thing needs to be tackled. Still, it seems the manager who can’t be faulted, is doing something to address the issue. Speaking after the match he stated: “We knew that if anything happened in the second-half we were off; the referee had said the same…” It’s great that the players worked as a team and in the face of adversity, went on to thrash Bulgaria to be fair. A conversation, followed by an action plan still needs to take place so that there’s ownership, and maybe someone can use their power to rid it from the sport. 




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