Racism in football and how to deal with it

Article by Timp

Racism: prejudice, discrimination, antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.

Racism is vile, every bit if not more when it creeps into our sport. We have heard or witnessed the sickening abuse the England black players received when playing Montenegro and Raheem Sterling right or wrongly demanded that Montenegro got punished as a country and not as individuals.

I wholeheartedly agree with Raheem that the overseers of our beautiful game, UEFA, FIFA, Premier League and the FA only pay lip service to the problem. I can understand any Black or foreign player who has been on the receiving end of this abuse becoming frustrated with the authorities and governing bodies who preside over this. They dish out empty platitudes, petty fines and always swerve dealing with the problem in the serious draconian manner that it deserves. 

The official position stated by FIFA is that when a player suffers racial abuse, the matter should be dealt with by the sport rather than the Law of the Land. So if a player is racially abused, whether it be on the pitch or the terrace the first port of call for abused players is their ruling sport body. So that means that the abuse is dealt with internally by the sport and not the courts.

I think that players that get abused should take action that involves the law and ignore the directive from FIFA. I think the football authorities have had their chance to deal with this matter in a serious and draconian manner but have failed miserably time after time.

A little known piece of the Race Relations Act states that anything done in the course of his/her employment shall be treated for the purposes of the Act as done by his/her employer as well as him regardless of whether it was done with the employers approval or not. This would suggest that a football club could be held liable for the racist acts of their players. 

The terrace abuse is a different animal, of course football mirrors society and the problem is a global one. I think the football governing bodies should look at camera evidence and hand out lifetime bans coupled with handing dossiers over to police to deal with it. 

I have heard the Premier League and other bodies condemn racism in the strongest terms, and then follow it up with action that lacks substance. 

So this brings me to the latest sound-bite from a Black player who is Danny Rose. This week, as reported here, he has said that ‘I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it’. 

There are several things about this statement that for me is totally wrong. Firstly, he has made me feel some grudging admiration for Raheem Sterling. Raheem is a player that gets the lion share of racial abuse from some Neanderthals who attend football matches, and whilst he is highlighting that this abuse has to be stamped out at no point do I hear him say that he is sick of football. That his love for the game has soured so much to the point he can’t wait to get out.

The second point is that the statement sounds flawed, Rose is saying he has had enough of racism in the game, but is programming himself for another five or six years in football. If he has had enough why subject yourself for another 5 to 6 years? Could that have anything to do with money! 

Rose is a Black player in the Premiership and a potential target for the racist element that attend games, I get that. When I see some of his Black contemporaries (Like Sterling) calling out racism without declaring he is so sick of football and would like to see the back of it. For me Rose scored an own goal with his statement, yes he should be calling racism out in support of Raheem but to declare that he is so sick of it but is sticking around for another 5 or 6 years seems to dilute his argument.
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