2012 was probably quite unprecedented for the football industry in Europe; the non-sporting antics on the pitch are what I remember. Racism seemed to be everywhere, from the English Premiership to the European championships in Poland/Ukraine. I’m sure you are aware of all the other incidents. After this I bet football’s governing body FIFA, was glad to see the end of 2012. So roll on 2013….. unfortunately racism in European football has gone into extra time!
At the beginning of January 2013 Kevin-Prince Boateng who plays for top Italian football team AC Milan, was subjected to monkey chants by fans of an opposing team during a friendly match. In understandable anger the player supported by his team mates, walked off the pitch and the game was abandoned.
After criticism of his handling of similar incidents in football, FIFA president Sepp Blatter condemned racism in football, calling it the ‘devil’ of the game, but insisted that Kevin-Prince Boateng should not have walked off the pitch, as ‘running away’ was not the answer to solving this problem.
Footballer Rio Ferdinand has been very vocal about stamping out racism in football, but was shocked amid claims from football anti-racism organisation, FARE that he and his brother were subjected to offensive songs with ‘racist overtones’ by their very own English supporters! England manager Roy Hodgson said he heard the abuse but did not want to comment and the English Football Association stated that they have not yet received any recorded evidence of the incident. Rio’s club team Manger, Alex Ferguson of Manchester United commented on outspoken Rio becoming a target for football fans saying, “this is modern society…We see a lot of that. I don’t think we can change that”.
There was also more controversy over the Easter weekend with Sunderland Football Club appointing former Premiership and Serie A player Paolo di Canio as their manager. Di Canio was banned by Lazio Football Club for making a fascist salute, but denies being a fascist or a racist.
So is racism in football here to stay? It looks like football is losing the battle against racism. It’s impossible to control what some fans say at a football match, these prejudices have a deep history which stretches further than the inception of the so-called ‘beautiful game’.
double*a*ad : AdelinA
Featured images: Football stadium – Bing images