Sepp Blatter’s point was that football players can be driven by adrenaline and frustration to do and say things they wouldn’t otherwise do. It’s the “killing a man in the heat of passion” defence, quoted above. He might actually have a case, up to a point. But, In the end, you are to be held fully accountable for your actions, no matter how you arrived at them. It’s something that thankfully the English FA recognise.
Worryingly, Blatter’s words do seem to reflect a wider problem in football outside of the UK. When Suarez, allegedly racially abused Evra during a game, there was no suggestion he might be dropped by Uruguay. In addition in a champion’s league match when Busquets was accused of a similar allegation made towards the Real Madrid player Marcelo, the matter wasn’t examined or looked into has forensically or intensely as the FA did with Suraez. So in that respects the FA have to be given credit in dealing with racism and dealing with the allegation and if you have any doubts on the decision read the 150 pages case published by the FA before you comment.
Following the Suarez incident, fellow Uruguayan Gus Poyet leapt to his defence, saying Suarez was no racist and that England had to try and understand different cultures, rather than think they were right all the time. Spain has a notoriously poor reputation for tackling racism, fining clubs pittances when their fans racially abuse opposition players and their national coach Luis Aragones only a days’ wage when he attempted to “motivate” Jose Reyes by making racist remarks about Thierry Henry.
Also following the Liverpool vs Man united cup game last week I thought my piece should echo the facts that racism has been covered up, almost like racism has gone to sleep for the last decade and its suddenly woken up. Your either naïve or plain daft to think we’ve overcome racism. There is still a long way to go. But looking at my previous example, at least were making strides.
Like when a Blackburn Rovers fan was caught making monkey noises at Dwight Yorke during a match, he was banned from the ground and taken to court. Ron Atkinson can no longer get a job in football.
These are the kind of things we should keep pushing, especially if it means that one day we can get to a point where the New Statesman has to stop regurgitating under a different name its seemingly bi-annual blog about lefties having to dislike football. We’ve still got a way to go in this country, but we’ve certainly come a long way and we’re still miles ahead of loads of other countries. The UK has done more to tackle racism in football than most other major footballing countries over the past 20 years and for this, oddly, we should be proud.
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