2012 will be seen as one of the greatest years in recent history for British sport and so it shoul be. The Olympics and Paralympics were a triumph with the British athletes excelling in almost every sport. Chelsea won the champions league against all the odds, the team dubbed ‘the Chelsea pensioners’ after an erratic season. Great accomplishments of course but what I’m taking away from this year is the surge in racism in football all started by John Terry in the latter stages of 2011. How this disease has managed to grab headlines and dominate the news is beyond logic, huge steps had been made against racism and to see it be so prominent in English football is very disappointing. It has no place in the game but there is a wiser issue, on a social scale too but the u21’s game between Serbia and England showed that it isn’t just the FA who need to be doing more but also UEFA and FIFA. To see young English players be racially abused by a crowd so openly and be embroiled in a brawl for reacting is unbelievable. The farce that followed in the aftermath showed the governing bodies pure lack of determination to take any serious actions. A measly fine and a couple of bans, not enough, not good enough.
The ban Terry received for alleged racism against Anton Ferdinand stretched for four games and Suarez for alleged racism against Evra received an eight game ban. These bans are not strong enough to deal with this surge of racism in English football that is threatening to become a persistent issue. Stronger sanctions are the only way to make sure people understand that there is zero tolerance in football. There shouldn’t be a couple of examples made, which we haven’t even seen, but a strict punishment for every single offence.
When Rio Ferdinand missed a random drugs tests he was instantly banned for eight months. A standard punishment but compare that to John Terry’s four match ban and it’s impossible to get your head around. Missing an appointment to prove your drug free, you miss the best part of a year and being found guilty of racial abuse by the FA, barely a month. The sanctions being handed out are too far apart on the spectrum, and the FA and other governing bodies need to drag the punishments for racial abuse up to fit in with the crime. Serbia were fined £65,900 for their u21’s behaviour and racial chanting yet Niklas bendtner revealing a betting site on his underwear during the Euro was handed a £80,000 fine. Again, the punishments aren’t logical in comparison. I’m sure Niklas and anyone else thinking of recreating the stunt will think twice with such a steep fine but will Serbia make any changes? I won’t hold my breath.
The Kevin-Prince Boateng walk off in an Italian ‘friendly’ after being racially abused highlighted that it is not just English football that is being troubled by racism. It seems that it has become almost fashionable amongst the moronic breed of football fans to racially abuse players to grab and make headlines. This is only half the issue when it is also footballers abusing each other and on one occasion the abuse was aimed at fans. The only way to end this surge of racism is for the governing bodies, football teams, players and fans to all fight against racism with the tenacity needed to put an end to this episode in Football.