When Liverpool take on Real Madrid in this years UEFA Champions League final at the end of the month, many will be rooting for Mohammed Salahan Arab Muslim who burst onto the scene to claim Premier Leagues Best Player Award. While Salah, a 25-year-old curly haired accented Egyptian has been embraced (thus far) by the soccer world as a breath of fresh air to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldos decade of dominance of the sport, one thing is very clear about European soccerracism and discrimination is alive and kicking,in and around the beautiful game.
A report published by the Guardian early this year detailing the racist and inhumane treatment of black players at Chelsea Football Clubs youth set up in the early 1980s may come as a shock to many. However, for any longtime fan of the sport, the allegations shouldnt be a surprise. Every weekend, when black players step on to the pitch in every corner of Europes soccer leagues, there are bound to be racist chants by fans, and unfortunately, it has become a norm.
When stories of racism by fans and soccer officials make it into the press, which they often dont, soccer fans will tell you: its awful and shameful, but that they just want to enjoy the beautiful game. Just a couple of days ago, Chelsea played Huddersfield at home in a do-or-die match in efforts to secure a top-four spot that will see the club qualify for the Champions League. Chelsea drew the game, which slimmed down its chance of playing on Europes biggest stage next season. That was the backstory of all sports papers across England, but a quick search on Twitter will reveal the racist abuse that Willian, a black Brazilian football player, and arguably one of the clubs most consistent players over the past three years was getting on Twitter.
Conveniently, fans on Reddit forums, which I am a part of, again will tell you its awful but that it doesnt represent the opinions of the majority of them. And while that may be true, one incident after another suggests racist occurrences in soccer isnt just limited to a racist section of particular fans or hooliganism.
In 2015, something even more blatant was caught on video at a Paris Metro Station. White Chelsea fans who had traveled to France to watch the club play an away game prevented a black passenger from squeezing on to the train, only to be pushed forcefully back on to the platform.
Their chants as the man gave up trying to get on the train: Were racist, were racist and thats the way we like it!
Amateur footage shows Chelsea football fans preventing a black man from boarding a Paris metro train shortly before the Champions League fixture between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. The passenger attempts to squeeze on to the train, only to be pushed forcefully back on to the platform at the Richelieu-Drouot station.