Racism In Soccer Must Be Stamped Out
There have been too many high-profile incidents of racism in soccer. We, all of us collectively, have the ability to stamp it out this growing epidemic if we work together. By being silent, we tolerate what we silently abhor.
Racism is wrong, and it is a fact of life. Misguided individuals perpetuate it and ignorant people allow it to fester, but all of us who love the game of soccer are wiser.
We know that the beautiful game binds us together — that we share a common bond, a shared passion that supersedes the petty differences that separate us. After all, most of us, when we are on the pitch, or watching the game, we don’t see color, we see talent — or the lack thereof. Whether you are an armchair ref or the coach of a national team, it is the joy of the game transcends.
Soccer has its own language, and inherently we respect it.
Then, why do we tolerate — look the other way — when racism rears its ugly face?
Even in the EPL, a recent match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur was marred because of racism. Allegedly, Chelsea’s player Antonio Rudiger complained of hearing racist abuse — According to ABC, Ridiger had been subjected to racist monkey chants.
Monkey chants? Isn’t this 2020?
We all must work together to eradicate racism
The referee of the Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur match, Anthony Taylor, stopped the play, thanks to a new protocol from UEFA which empowers referees to stand up to racism. The UEFA’s new three-step procedure came into effect in October 2019 allowing referees to actually stop and even abandon the match if racist behavior continues after two warnings issued by a stadium announcer.
From UEFA, Here is the Three-Steps Procedure:
- If the referee becomes aware of racist behavior or is informed of it by the fourth official, he will stop the game. He will then request an announcement to be made over the public address system asking spectators to immediately stop any racist behavior.
- If the racist behavior does not cease after the game has restarted, the referee will suspend the match for a reasonable period of time, for example, five to ten minutes, and request teams to go to the dressing rooms. A further announcement is made over the public address system.
- As a final resort, if the racist behavior continues after a second restart, the referee can definitively abandon the match.
It is really sad to see racism again at a football match, but I think it’s very important to talk about it in public. If not, it will be forgotten again in a couple of days (as always). (1/4)— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) December 22, 2019
Why would a soccer fan racially abuse a professional player?
In another racial incident, Josef Smith, who was found guilty of making monkey gestures at Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has been banned for four years from coming to games. MSN reported just a few days ago that Smith was found guilty of using racially aggravated threatening or abusive behavior after he “curled his fists under his armpits in a chimp-like gesture” when Abraham scored a hat-trick.
Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger also has allegedly been the victim of racial abuse. And the list goes on and on. Kick It Out, English football’s equality and inclusion organization publishes a summary of discrimination
Professional soccer players all over the world endure racial abuse.
England is not the only country where its citizens have run amuck. Italy suffered a similar if not worse blight using a series of monkey paintings in the country’s top league, Serie A‘s anti-racism initiative. Of course, this was condemned by AC Milan and other clubs, but the issue was worsened by players being abused by fans holding posers of monkeys from the stands.
Italian Mario Balotelli has lashed out when racial abuse has surfaced on the field, kicking a ball into the stands after he heard racist slurs.
Racism even was present in France during the FIFA World Cup victory. The stats are frightening.
Racism shouldn’t exist in modern society. It is everyone’s duty to stand up and fight racism.
Racism simply has no place in soccer.
February is Black History Month. While it is great to celebrate the past, we need to end the ongoing struggle now. How can we let today’s youth players grow up exposed to racism? Can we be the #KickItOutGeneration? At least let’s show our children we know racism is wrong.
When we are silent in the face of racism, we tolerate racism.
Together, we can slow the infestation of ignorance.
But only if we speak up and let it be known that we are intolerant of it. That we know better and we are proud not to tolerate racism.