Courtesy to Dan Leydon. follow on twitter @danleydon check out the website http://hotfootynews.blogspot.com/

Football and racism

Whether it’s Kenny Dalglish donning a T-Shirt in support of Luis Suarez, along with the rest of his team, or Sepp Blatter making stupid remarks such as “There is no racism [on the field], but maybe there is a word or gesture that is not correct.”  “The one affected by this should say this is a game and shake hands.” When racism in football rears its ugly head, it needs to be dealt with properly. It needs to be stamped out, shown that it is not acceptable and everybody in football needs to work harder to educate those that are ignorant.

The way Liverpool, as a club, have dealt with the Suarez/Evra situation is unacceptable. If they want to stand behind their player and show him support, then do so behind closed doors and keep  it private. Someone on Twitter, I can’t remember who, said something very intriguing. Was Liverpool supporting their player or their investment? Cynical, maybe, but that’s why I liked it.

Liverpool needed to come out and publicly state that they were against racism, whether it was intended or not, and they will deal with it internally and accept any punishment they receive externally.

A bigger issue

People from all walks of life go to football matches nowadays. It may not have always been like that, which is a good and a bad thing, but if someone goes to a football match and feels that it’s acceptable to shout racist abuse, then they need to be arrested, like the fan at the Liverpool game, and should be banned from any future football matches or events and also, I believe, receive counselling to find the root of their problem.

In any other job that wouldn’t be accepted, and more often than not you would be fired if found guilty of it. Just the same, if you were on the street and someone started spouting racial abuse at someone, people would call the police.

Racism is not something that is just found in football it’s a social issue. The woman on the bus that the Sun and other newspapers, as well as people on FaceBook and Twitter who circulated it, made people aware of the ugly truth., that racism is still be a very real and present issue.

It needs to be dealt with social. Sport has to show its support also, but can not be the start and end of it.

Online racism

Stan Collymore, along with other black footballers, received racist comments on their Twitter page, but Stan Collymore didn’t just retweet what the person had said, he alerted the Police and they promptly arrested the man responsible the next day. Many people on twitter that are faced with abuse, racial or otherwise, retweet it for everyone to see. It’s good to highlight other people’s ignorance, but also maybe they should follow Collymore’s lead and report the abuse to the police.

It is not just on twitter that racism can be found. Wherever someone can be faceless, there will be someone being abusive and unfortunately sometimes there is no real action that can be taken. If you go on to YouTube and read the comments the amount of racial abuse can be obscene.

The problem there is how much of it is really meant, and how much is there just because some teenagers are dicking around. In those cases, many times people have reverted to disabling the use of comments, which is a shame as a small amount ruin it for everyone else.

Actions speak louder than words

Racism in football needs to be dealt with in the same manner from grass roots all the way to the International level. I, like many, were disgusted when a few years ago England faced Spain and had to content with the monkey chanting. Fifa acted swiftly to state that they would not tolerate racism in football with Sepp Blatter saying “There is no room whatsoever for racism or discrimination in our sport. On the contrary, football is a tool for building bridges and nurturing tolerance,” continuing “The world is already too full of conflict that has its roots in racism and discrimination. Football has a positive influence.”

In the end what disappointed me was what action was taken. UEFA fined the Spanish Football Federation £44,750 and warned that any future incidents would be punished more severely. I didn’t see that as a suitable punishment and could hardly even be called a slap on the wrist.

Personally I would have liked a sterner stance to be taken. If they had to have played the next 5 games behind closed doors, with women and children only, along with a heftier fine and a warning of future actions along the lines of possible exclusion from a World Cup or European Cup, I would have felt that acceptable.

Action should be taken on the severity of the abuse, not the stature of the club, country or the player. It shouldn’t matter whether it’s a Premier League player, a League Two player, a fan in the crowd or even the England captain. If you are found to have used racist abuse then you should be dealt with and judged by the severity of the abuse you have used.

Luis Suarez has been banned for 8 Matches and fined. I await to see what happens to John Terry after the courts are finished with him. For football’s sake and for society’s sake, it needs to be made clear that racism is not tolerated and not wanted. Not in football, not in sport and ultimately not in today’s society


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