The moment Moise Kean scored and celebrated his goal against Cagilari by stretching his arms after being racially abused, it was a statement – RACISM HAS NO PLACE IN FOOTBALL. For a teenager, one can only wonder what was going through his mind at that point in time. It is also scary to think that racism activities continue to occur in all around Europe, and authorities have not done enough curb the activities of racists.
One continues to wonder whether or not there really is a lot of politics in making the decisions towards racist fans. So far, the worst that has happened include: fining the clubs or countries, and banning the fans for life – the usual occurrence in England.
It is concerning that black footballers, who are basically doing their jobs are insulted just because of their skin colour. The comments and chants are derogatory in nature – monkey chants depict the fact that blacks are ‘monkeys’, which is definitely not the case. In a world where we are fighting for equality, it still becomes a wonder why black players are still being insulted.
Is racism in football a depiction of the society?
Football fans are a depiction of the society at large. This basically means people are affected by what they see, or learn within and outside the four walls of schools. For some, they have been taught that one race is superior to the other. For others, it is borne out of dislike towards another race. Both of which are concerning for a black player.
Racism has been become an important topic for discussion, with the recent actions being displayed by fans of various clubs towards footballers. It must be noted that there has been a bit of an increase in racial activities towards footballers, with a number of them either unreported, or the authorities have failed to sanction the erring club fans.
In a game between Inter Milan and Napoli, Senegalese defender, Kalidou Kouilibaly was targeted by Inter supporters who directed monkey noises at him throughout the Serie A match at the San Siro. The manager of Napoli, Carlo Ancelotti said after the match that:
“We asked the federation to do something about it but they just made some announcements and the match was not suspended like we have demanded.”
However, Inter Milan was sanctioned to play their next two matches without fans and a third game with a portion of the stadium closed as punishment for fans racially abusing a Napoli player. The mayor of Milan also apologised to the payer.
This decision in my opinion wasn’t the best. The Italian Football Authorities have failed to tackle racism properly, mostly handling the racism cases with kid gloves. Sulley Muntari was booked for constantly complaining to the referee after constantly suffering from racial slurs by fans. Little or nothing has been done towards curbing racism as a whole. It is important to show the fact that there is no place for racism in football.
In 2005, Samuel Eto’o was greeted by monkey chants when he touched the ball at Zaragoza’s Romareda Stadium. After the game, he said
“I danced like a monkey because they treated me like a monkey.”
Former Tottenham Hotspurs manager, Harry Redknapp, said after a racist incident which saw a Blackpool player, Jason Euell suffer abuse in 2011, that: –
“Surely we can’t have that sort of behaviour now? Anyone who does it should be put in prison – not banned from football. Stick them where they belong, in the nut-house. It wrong.”
What punishment should be proper for erring clubs?
This starts with the top bodies – FIFA, UEFA, CAF etc. it is important to have rules as regards punishments for clubs and countries who are found complicit in racial activities. The punishments proposed include:
Points deduction – this is in cases regarding competitive matches. It would absolutely affect the clubs and make sure the fans understand that their actions have dire consequences towards their clubs. Thus, before fans are able to make racial chants towards a player, they would have to rethink their chants.
Proper fines – to put it in emphasis, clubs and countries should be handed PROPER FINES! Just like Danny Rose stated, the fines meted out to erring parties don’t change anything, nor does it show that the authorities are eager to curb racism in football.
Longer stadium bans – stadium bans involve making teams play behind closed doors – without their fans. However, an increased length in the ban would make sure the clubs sit up to their duties and show the authorities have zero tolerance towards racism.
Racism has no place in football. And credits must go to the ‘Kick it out’ movement, as well the Premier League for its new creation showing the fact that racism has no place in football. No one should be subjected to such unfair treatment.
Ayomide ‘Toba Eribake is a Sports Law enthusiast, and also has interests in Human Rights and ADR. He also loves researching and reading various subjects of interest.