Racism is rapidly growing and spreading like a cancer in the football world and is killing the message of “unity” and “equality” that football has long stood for. In a sport that unifies both players and supporters worldwide, transcending the barriers of creed, color, ethnicity and religion….this cancer needs to be stopped right now before it kills our beloved game.
Yaya Touré touched briefly on this issue during his recent interview with Sky Sports, rightfully calling out FIFA and UEFA bosses for not taking enough action to end the abuse. Mario Balotelli’s abuse at the hands of Verona fans during his teams Serie A match on 3 November 2019 just goes to show just how serious this issue is becoming.
What is more disgusting about that particular incident was the response from both Verona head coach, Ivan Juric, and Verona club president, Maurizio Setti, who instead of reprimanding their fans or apologizing for the incident, had the audacity to pretend that nothing happened, saying that there was no racist element in the abuse directed towards Balotelli… i mean ‘come on’…are you blind…even if you are, you can’t also be deaf.
There is clear concrete evidence from the video footage taken during the incident where Verona supporters were clearly heard making monkey chants towards the player. A stand need to be taken. Touré is quite right in his suggestions that players should walk off.
“I think what players need to do now is just go out and [walk off]. Leaving the pitch will send a big message to FIFA and UEFA and show them these footballers are more important.” he said during his interview.
This is just one of many instances of such abuse with so many others happening that go unreported or just being brushed off. I will always applaud the England squads threat to walk off the pitch if any off their players were abused during their game in the Ukraine. As Tammy Abraham so rightfully put it “If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” and this statement is one that we should all adopt as a footballing community.
Frankly FIFA and UEFA governing bodies need to stop prancing around the issue and finally ‘man up’ and tackle it head on. If players walk then there is no football, no football means no UEFA and no FIFA governing bodies, so if not for the fact that you actually care, at least do it for your own sense of self preservation.
Why should players be made the subject of such abuse. Listen carefully.. everyone is allowed to have their own opinion, no matter how sick and twisted it is, however as a “racist” supporter, why would you go watch a game where the very people you have an issue with will be featuring. Stay home, have a beer and debate your twisted views with those who care and leave the rest of us to enjoy the football that we love without having to be privy to your views and abuse which have no place anywhere near a football pitch.
If it wasn’t for the diversity we find in football, THERE WOULD BE NO FOOTBALL to talk about. It is the accumulation of talents , skill and grace that come from all these players originating from all around the world that make football the greatest sport in the world in my opinion.
Colin Kaepernick took to the knee during the USA’s national anthem, in the NFL in protest for a cause that he believed in. It is time we take the same stance in football. It seems the people higher up the food chain do not care about the abuse the players have to go through each and every day. These amazing men and women play to entertain us, play to represent us and play to unite us. The least we can do to show our gratitude is to support them.
Abuse of any kind should not be tolerated in anyway. Announcing a message on the prompter or PA system is not a solution. Its time we all play our part and bring an end to this cancer once and for all before it spreads and ruins the game that we love so much. Lets face facts, the ‘three-step protocol for racism’ adopted by UEFA isn’t working. Its time to step up our game.
I am calling out the FIFA and UEFA bigwigs and asking them …asking YOU, asking everyone to finally take a stand and bring an end to this.
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