Soccer is the Beautiful Game, a game whose beauty is too often marred by racism.
We’ve read too many stories about racism in soccer. From monkey chants and bananas being throw on to the pitch to players being reduced to tears, racism is a plague in soccer that has gone on for far too long.
But FIFA president Gianni Infantino isn’t playing around anymore when it comes to racism in the sport as he’s tired of ignorance ruining the game, so he’s taking steps to eliminate it.
“We will not hesitate to do everything in our power to eradicate racism, and any other form of discrimination, from football, at any level and anywhere in the world,” said the head of world soccer’s governing body said in a statement this weekend.
To that end, he referenced the three-step strategy the organization instituted in their tournaments in 2017, encouraging other organizers to implement the same tactics. In the event of a racist incident, the referee has the power to stop a game, suspend a game and, ultimately, end the game if the behavior continues.
“In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football. This is really not acceptable.” said Infantino. “Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.
“FIFA stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground. Racism needs to end. Full stop.”
In his statement, the head of FIFA referenced multiple players who have continue to suffer at the hands of racists, stars who can’t just shut up and dribble because they’re subjected to verbal venom constantly.
Tottenham’s Danny Rose is so tired of racism in the game that he can’t wait to be done with soccer.
“I’ve had enough. At the minute, the way that I programme myself I just think, I’ve got five or six more years left in football and I just can’t wait to see the back of it.” Adding that “seeing how things are done in the game at the minute, it’s just, ‘Whatever!’, isn’t it? I just want to get out of it.”
Then, less than two weeks ago, Juventus’ Italian teenage forward Moise Kean had to endure racist chants and then surprising criticism from his own teammates over his actions of giving it right back to those racist fans. It was a situation that even Raheem Sterling had to chime in on.
Soccer has never been able to truly deal with racism despite various efforts both elaborate and superficial.
But a glimmer of hope arose this weekend as it appears that Premier League club West Ham is paying attention to Infantino’s message. After fans were screaming anti-Semitic chants directed towards Tottenham, the club issued a statement and said it will ban any fans who were caught on film partaking in this horrendous act.
“We are disgusted by the contents of the video circulating on social media this evening.
“We are taking immediate action to try to identify the offenders, whose details we will be handing over to the police and will be banned for life from London Stadium and from travelling with the club.
“West Ham United is unequivocal in its stance – there is no place for this kind of behaviour at our club. We do not want people like this associated with West Ham United.
“They are not welcome at our club, they are not welcome in civilised society.”
Let’s hope the perpetrators get caught and that other clubs follow their example.