Racism is defined in the English dictionary as ‘hatred or intolerance of another race’, it IS NOT defined as acceptable behaviour in football stadiums. Football has sadly been dragged back into the dark ages as acts of racism are not dealt with in the correct manner. It is one thing to have an opinion but to vent that prejudice by verbally or physically abusing someone purely for the colour of their skin is simply not acceptable.
You can’t pick up a newspaper at the moment without reading about another racism scandal in the back pages. Until hooligans such as the Chelsea fan who was pictured making monkey gestures at a black player whilst at their latest match are dealt life bans or even a prison sentence, this minority of football fan will continue to ruin our beautiful game. The game in question was Chelsea vs. Manchester United, the game witnessed 6 goals in normal time and a further 3 goals in extra time but instead of reading what a fantastic, end to end, exciting game they had witnessed, the media were forced to give the limelight to the moronic Chelsea fan clearly making monkey gestures in the front row.
Another recent incident that makes an astonishing read is that of the abuse the England U-21 stars faced out in Serbia and probably more astonishing the Serbian FA’s reaction. Englands black players, that night, were subjected to outrageous monkey noises being chanted at them every time they went close to the Serbian crowd. The game was on a knife edge and England took the lead in the dying minutes which caused all hell to break loose, the referee blew the final whistle and the Serbian crowd erupted into to a barrage of monkey noises which caused some of Englands young players to react angrily. Danny Rose was sent off after the final whistle for kicking the ball into the crowd. The Serbian players seemed to be egging on the crowd and even started fights on the pitch, however the Serbian FA and police force have since charged two England players for ‘causing an act of violence during a sporting event’.
Referee Mark Clattenberg is currently being questioned by police after Chelsea players made an accusation he used offensive and racial language during their Premier League match with Manchester United. As usual the media have hung Clattenberg out to dry and as in most cases he is guilty before proven innocent instead of the other way round. Clattenberg has been accused of calling Jon Obi Mikel a ‘monkey’ after a heated discussion with the Nigerian international during the game and if he has uttered such obscenities then he should be duly punished but until it is proven he should be given a fair trial. Some words that players are seen mouthing to referees during a match are obscene, and they do have a hard job that is subject to human error but it seems the ’Respect the Ref’ campaign has fallen along the wayside as well as the ’Kick It Out’ campaign after players recently refused to wear the advertising t-shirt in protest against the lack of action the organisation seems to take.
The list of black footballers that have been a major part of English football history is extensive. The percentage of those that have then gone on to coaching and management is very low. The FA launched a COACH bursary scheme in 2011 in order to promote coaching as a career for the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community (BAME). Our nation is one that strives on equality and fair play but surely such a scheme leaves other members of the community at a disadvantage. Surely if someone is the best man for a job it shouldn’t matter what colour, nationality or race that person is. I’m sure the FA have the best intentions but such a scheme should be available to all under represented communities and not just the ones mentioned.
I’m sure in this weekends matches, sadly, that there will be racial controversy because until we are seen to make a stand then it will keep happening. Please, be brave, if you are sat next to someone in the stands using racial and/or abusive language then report them and get these people banned from our beautiful game.
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