Racism in the game

SocrManiac

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I'm posting in the hopes that we can keep this civil and that it doesn't belong in V&N. I think the group we have here has had great discussions and we can handle ourselves with a level of decorum and dignity. If this is inappropriate, I apologize.

FIFA has been working on a number of programs to stamp racism out of the sport. My perception that the approach hasn't really paid any dividends. Given the overall political climate in the world, their effort hasn't even kept up with the general emboldening and enabling of the offenders.

In July, Chelsea banned a fan for life and suspended five others for racist language. I'm not clear on how effective a deterrent this really is. Is a ban enforceable? Other than not selling tickets to his credit card and address, how can this really be effective?

Can stadium bans and point deductions be handled effectively? What's to prevent a rival supporter from becoming a plant used to dock a few points in a title race? The problem is incredibly complex.

This doesn't even account for the issues in Italy. Cagliari has been the focus of light. High profile cases involving Matuidi, Kean, and now Lukaku have cropped up over the past three years. Clear video evidence was deemed insufficient to mete out punishment by Serie A officials. While that's bad enough, the Inter Ultras' response has to be read to be believed:





I'm not Lukaku, but I feel like that response is worse than the Cagliari fans' act.

Particularly in Europe, the game's power can be used to combat a problem that goes beyond the lines of the sport. Instead, it's turning into an arena showcasing some of the worst individuals. Cagliari seems to be a clear case study for a stadium ban. It's systemic, repetitive, and disgusting. Demba Ba suggested that black players should leave Serie A. I haven't been the subject of this behavior, but it seems like that just enables the offenders.

What are the first steps FIFA and the individual associations should be taking at this point?
 

Zomp

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I don't know what the answers are. We had a thread about racism in the game quite a few years ago back when Kevin Prince Boateng played for Milan and walked off the pitch during a preseason friendly for receiving abuse and I applauded him then and would still do so now.

15 years or so ago, there was a big push to try and eliminate racism in the game. I believe this was after some of the England players were subjected to it in a friendly vs Spain. Nike even came out with those rubber wristbands like the Livestrong onces, except it was a black one and a white one intertwined.

Like you say, docking points is dicey once fans figure out they can plant a few fans in certain parts of stadiums to make it look like they are racially abusing a player.

That letter from the Ultras is unbelievable.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Sports mostly reflect, not drive, the culture of its society.

Regarding Ultras: They are reflective of a club's management and members. They aren't a group of Martians who thru happenstance get access to the players and the best seats in the house. Everyone likes the elaborate tifos or the large presence of away fans in important matches - who do you think pays for all of that?

EDIT: We don't trust FIFA or UEFA bureaucrats to do their jobs properly - but we hope they can figure this out?
 

InstaFace

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Seriously, that letter man... how about, if your "way" is to shout racial epithets at someone to try and take them off their game, "...but we don't really mean it!", maybe switch to another approach? Would that kill you? How about making fun of something that has to do with what the player does, as opposed to who the player is. It's not like hecklers are short of options in that regard. You have the full range of human insults open to you, except the racial-abuse category. You can't come up with anything sufficient in all the other categories? Really?

Like you say, docking points is dicey once fans figure out they can plant a few fans in certain parts of stadiums to make it look like they are racially abusing a player.
You know, the fact that abuse is theoretically possible isn't necessary a slam-dunk reason to dispose of the idea. It's just a weighing of concerns. No, it's not perfect, but why not try it and see if that results in an improvement? We're talking about human dignity here, a definite and sure amount of it, vs the possibility of the results of a sporting season being tinkered with. Surely some non-perfect approach is worth trying.

For example, aren't supporters' sections generally regulated by the organizers of those supporters' groups, they know the people who are showing up, take responsibility for them, and as a result get to allocate a bunch of tickets all in one or several adjoining sections of the stands? Isn't that how it works? I have to assume that a lot of the abuse is coming from those supporters' sections rather than some general-admission type locations. You could just make supporters orgs have, effectively, strict liability for what goes on in their section. If they see or hear racial abuse, they need to self-eject the fans doing it, or risk the ENTIRE GROUP getting sanctioned / having their tickets cancelled. They know who's there in the stands with them, they've probably been going with all their buddies for 20 years, the idea that some rival would plant rustlers among them without them knowing who it is seems very unlikely to start with, but if they deal with the problem themselves immediately, well, problem solved in my book - and if they don't, well, that switches the burden of proof, then, wouldn't it?
 

thehitcat

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That letter is repulsive. We need to combat racism everywhere, in public life, in schools, at home, in stadia, on social media, everywhere. I think perhaps the best way in cases such as this is to take the steps that Chelsea took. Find out the specific source and ban them. I realize it isn't perfect and it doesn't teach them about why it is wrong but sometimes you just take away something that the person loves as punishment. If the club continues to have these issues that's when you start docking them points but first you let the club try to handle it using their not inconsiderable resources and the threat that if they don't it'll harm their literal standing in the game.
 

wiffleballhero

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In the simulacrum
Can stadium bans and point deductions be handled effectively? What's to prevent a rival supporter from becoming a plant used to dock a few points in a title race? The problem is incredibly complex.
I only know what I am reading here, so maybe this is already in the mix, but an immediate move that would have a tangible impact on the game would be an an announced yellow card for the first incident a referee hears. Red cards for each incident thereafter.
 

SocrManiac

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I only know what I am reading here, so maybe this is already in the mix, but an immediate move that would have a tangible impact on the game would be an an announced yellow card for the first incident a referee hears. Red cards for each incident thereafter.
Who would you card? The manager?
 

Vinho Tinto

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If they see or hear racial abuse, they need to self-eject the fans doing it, or risk the ENTIRE GROUP getting sanctioned / having their tickets cancelled.
I certainly hope the “self-eject” is metaphorical and would happen after the match. Otherwise, these clubs will need their version of the National Guard deployed into the stands.

And the issue is not one bad apple who needs to get expelled.
 

InstaFace

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I certainly hope the “self-eject” is metaphorical and would happen after the match. Otherwise, these clubs will need their version of the National Guard deployed into the stands.

And the issue is not one bad apple who needs to get expelled.
It wasn't metaphorical. Unless my understanding of supporters' groups is way off (and it might be), I'm imagining this scenario:

1) Supporters group / Ultras have control of sections of stands and all tickets to them, allocated to their group members by group organizers
2) During a game, racial abuse is heard, by a player, ref or even just an usher
3) Report is communicated to the organizers in attendance, presumably via text
4) If it's true that there was one bad apple there, perhaps a plant or a guy who just had a bit too much Campari, they tell him to get lost, perhaps with usher / security help
5) If, on the other hand, it's some big cheer that the whole group is leading, or it's effectively sanctioned conduct by the entire group, and nothing is done about it by the group / organizers, then after the match the club reviews it with them. Maybe they have some sort of warning, but if not addressed, the supporters' group is sanctioned, up to and including revoking their status as a supporters group entitled to a bunch of tickets

This doesn't help for situations where the abuse is diffuse or coming from a section of stands not controlled by a supporters group, but it's SOMETHING, and I have to imagine that the conduct in question tends to be perpetrated more by the more fanatical groups that are, effectively, self-sanctioned and communicate with the club as a unit (and get privileges thereby, e.g. away tickets).
 

fletcherpost

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I think first and foremost we have to listen to the players; the men and women of colour who are subject to this abuse. I'd like to see a seminar, held in public, televised or streamed live, with players like Pogba and Lukaku givng their personal accounts of what they face and hear what they have to say, what they feel are possible solutions to the problem. In other aspects of the game we talk about player power, often with some contempt - well in this case we have to give players the power to voice their thoughts and concerns and ideas. Have some representatives of fan groups, and club owners and refs and TV companies and twitter - but i say get folks in a room and let the world tune in.

Things change quickest when you hurt the clubs financially, and the fans when they can't go watch their beloved teams. In my view everything is on the table. But it's not for me to say what should be done. But players, fans and the clubs have to back the players of colour. This also goes with players from different faiths who might be targetted.

If i was playing football and a non white or non christian player got abuse from the crowd i'd be happy to walk off in solidarity. Same goes if it happened at my place of work. The football field is still a place of work. Footballers are trying to do their jobs as best they can. An act of racial or sectarian abuse, be it from the stands or online is a criminal offense. No one should be expected to continue with their work in the face of/being subjected to the criminal actions of another.

In tennis a player can be Dq'd if they commit a number of violations. It doesn't matter if they are up or down a set. I have no problem at all with points being docked, matches being stopped, cards being issued...regardless of the score. I just don't know what is the best and most efficient measures to take. But my gut tells me the subtle approach is not gonna get this done.
 

shaggydog2000

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I think ejecting and banning a fan is an effective way of dealing with this on the EPL level. But from what I've read, on lower levels in England, and even in top level leagues in the rest of Europe, the racist behavior is far wider spread. They're not bad apples, they're the majority of die-hard supporters for some teams. I think those teams, who financially rely on the racists and nationalist groups that support them, need to be hurt financially until they see that relying on those fans and condoning their behavior is just bad business. I wouldn't remove points, but I would make them play in front of empty home stadiums as punishment, or not allow away section ticket sales to their fans. But this relies on the various national leagues actually wanting to punish this behavior. Hooliganism has been reduced a lot since the 80's using similar techniques, if the will is there Football can reduce racist incidents by treating it equivalently.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Sports mostly reflect, not drive, the culture of its society.

Regarding Ultras: They are reflective of a club's management and members. They aren't a group of Martians who thru happenstance get access to the players and the best seats in the house. Everyone likes the elaborate tifos or the large presence of away fans in important matches - who do you think pays for all of that?

EDIT: We don't trust FIFA or UEFA bureaucrats to do their jobs properly - but we hope they can figure this out?
It would sure seem to be the case in Italy, where the odious Matteo Salvini seems to be the most popular politician in the country. And the curvas (besides the Tuscan clubs such as Livorno) have been hard-right for a long time now.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I think ejecting and banning a fan is an effective way of dealing with this on the EPL level. But from what I've read, on lower levels in England, and even in top level leagues in the rest of Europe, the racist behavior is far wider spread. They're not bad apples, they're the majority of die-hard supporters for some teams. I think those teams, who financially rely on the racists and nationalist groups that support them, need to be hurt financially until they see that relying on those fans and condoning their behavior is just bad business. I wouldn't remove points, but I would make them play in front of empty home stadiums as punishment, or not allow away section ticket sales to their fans. But this relies on the various national leagues actually wanting to punish this behavior. Hooliganism has been reduced a lot since the 80's using similar techniques, if the will is there Football can reduce racist incidents by treating it equivalently.
I'm not entirely sure there's any lower league club in England who would derive a majority of their support from racists. Millwall are probably the closest but they still have a decent number of black fans and they aren't practicing racist chanting during every game (the idea being you could, since probably every club in the 92 has black players).
 

swiftaw

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After the Heysel disaster in 1985, UEFA didn't just ban Liverpool from Europe they banned all English teams from Europe and forced the entire country to deal with the situation. Same thing should happen here, ban all Italian teams from Europe and see how soon Juve fans will be calling for a solution.
 

Vinho Tinto

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After the Heysel disaster in 1985, UEFA didn't just ban Liverpool from Europe they banned all English teams from Europe and forced the entire country to deal with the situation. Same thing should happen here, ban all Italian teams from Europe and see how soon Juve fans will be calling for a solution.
The part of this equation that you’re missing is that there are no shortage of UEFA members who view the English ban as a mistake. Also, UEFA is so concerned with racism in Serie A, it upped the league’s allocation of guaranteed Champion’s League spots to four.
 

shaggydog2000

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I'm not entirely sure there's any lower league club in England who would derive a majority of their support from racists. Millwall are probably the closest but they still have a decent number of black fans and they aren't practicing racist chanting during every game (the idea being you could, since probably every club in the 92 has black players).
Yeah, I don't get the impression that any club in England has a majority of fans who engage in the racist behaviors any more, but that racist events happen more often on the lower levels there. No matter, they happen often enough at all levels that they need to be addressed. I just think they can be handled differently than they need to be handled in other leagues.
 

Spacemans Bong

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The part of this equation that you’re missing is that there are no shortage of UEFA members who view the English ban as a mistake. Also, UEFA is so concerned with racism in Serie A, it upped the league’s allocation of guaranteed Champion’s League spots to four.
There’s a cogent argument it was, Nick Hornby certainly made one in Fever Pitch.

They played the final in a condemned stadium, planned it about as stupidly as possible* and the Belgian prosecutors convicted at the police chief and main Belgian FA person in charge for manslaughter, along with a few English hooligans.

* they gave Juventus one end, then divided the other end in half between neutrals (supposedly locals) and Liverpool. So not only did Liverpool get the smaller end with the larger travelling support, one of the largest Italian expat communities anywhere got a second in for tickets. Most of the Italians who died were Belgian residents IIRC and, of course, Juventus fans.
 

67YAZ

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Given the way popular moods are swaying, overt racism will become a larger part of the sport in the coming years. Italy may be the vanguard today, but the rise of populist ethn0-nationalism globally will find expression in soccer. It's as @Vinho Tinto says, sports reflects the culture.

As such, the only way to address this is to hit the clubs with fines, point deductions, and bans. The clubs must take ownership of the problem and find solutions that work for their supporters and within their associations. Yes, there may be plants from other teams, but the clubs need to empower the leagues to investigate these instances...and a but of "mutually assured destruction" might help, too.

It doesn't all have to be punitive. There need to be real incentives - from FIFA, UEFA, leagues, FAs, and sponsors to be proactive with anti-racisms campaigns and events. "Kick Out Racism" is a fine start, but UEFA can create a VP-level anti-racism executive with resources behind the position to push the issue forward. They can be proactive.
 

Mighty Joe Young

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A counter argument to the “sports reflect society” is the political influence the various Ultra organizations. They are invariably neo-fascist - so of course they are on-board with overt racism. There was an interesting documentary series on TV a few years ago called Football Factories which documented their rise to almost political party status (especially in Eastern Europe).

Another, more generalized look was Franklin Foer’s How Football/Soccer Explains the World


A lot of this was fluff but the section on soccer tribalism was very illuminating.
 

tmracht

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It's amazing hearing the things would be said at soccer viewings even in the Italian American community. Moulinyan (aka a massively disgusting bastardization of eggplant) was so common place when watching soccer in a group during World Cup 94 (I was 11 and was still pretty horrified). It's amazing how this hasn't changed since I first started understanding that during WC94 but views like the Inter Ultras are sadly common.
 

67YAZ

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An announcer ffs !

Just the news item at the bottom - 12 Juve Ultras arrested for trying to blackmail the club with the threat of racist chants. Credit Juve for doing the right thing and referring this to law enforcement.
 

SocrManiac

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Just the news item at the bottom - 12 Juve Ultras arrested for trying to blackmail the club with the threat of racist chants. Credit Juve for doing the right thing and referring this to law enforcement.
The ultras will retaliate, no doubt. I fully expect a revolt, either at the very first opportunity or against a major opponent. This is going to get worse across Italy before it gets better.
 

67YAZ

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The ultras will retaliate, no doubt. I fully expect a revolt, either at the very first opportunity or against a major opponent. This is going to get worse across Italy before it gets better.
Sadly, I agree. UEFA, Seria A, the club, non-ultra supporter groups, and corporate sponsors need to coordinate and be strategic. There need to be clear standards set and enforced. And then ultra groups need to be engaged in order to try to prevent violent backlash. The Agnellis might be up for this fight, but not the innocent fans who’ll get pummeled with rock and bottles or the store owners who’ll have windows smashed when the ultras decide to retaliate.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Both Romania and Hungary were cited by UEFA for racist chants and banners for the Euro qualifiers. Both have to play their next matches behind closed doors.

If UEFA really wanted to take a stand, they would strip these teams of the rights to host group games if they qualify. Bucharest and Budapest are both group game sites. UEFA has set up the group stage so that if a hosting country qualifies they are guaranteed three group games at home (unless another host qualifies from that group in which case a coin flip determines which of the two only gets two home games).

It would stink if a country that got cited for racism in the qualification for this tournament nevertheless gets to play three group games before its home fans in the federation's biggest event. But I doubt that UEFA is going to do anything significant that might affect its bottom line. The home preference is no doubt partly to ensure ticket sales. Ticket sales apparently are fairly slow in Budapest and Romania (and Baku). Given that both Romania and Hungary have a good chance to go through as things currently stand, I doubt UEFA is really interested in taking a true stand. They already have kind of tipped their hand in deciding that Romania earned a two game closed-door sanction, but the second game is "suspended" until after qualification so the don't have to play both remaining matchdays without a crowd.
 

SoxFanInCali

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The Bulgaria-England game was halted a couple times due to racist chanting and Nazi salutes in the stands. England decided to put their faith in the FIFA three-step protocol (pause the game and make announcements, take the players off for a period of time for a cool-down period, then ultimately end the match). Refs did the first 2 steps, the second shortly before halftime. Around 50 people were ejected at halftime, and the match continued and completed without a third incident.

Bulgarian captain Ivelin Popov tried to calm the fans at the half, but afterwards the Bulgarian coaches and federation tried to claim they heard nothing and that the incident was overblown. Raheem Sterling let us all know what he thought of that opinion.
View: https://twitter.com/sterling7/status/1183852291952132097


I really don't think anything will change until countries are banned from competitions, and even then, well...we'll see.
 

67YAZ

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Hats off to England for their willingness to address the problem through the process and to not be deterred one bit. And look at the below statements from Mings & Rashford - truly thoughtful, considerate, and pointed. These are world class young men.

0A136E09-EB83-490D-BC3D-644A255024F7.jpeg
 

PedroSpecialK

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The process is shambolic, and isn’t even respected by a massive FA like Italy. The message is that there is no penalty for racism, at this point.

Sadly outside of conceding the match, I don’t know if England have any other recourse in situations like this but to follow the process. 100% agreed with the sentiment around Rashford and Mings’s statements. To keep their cool after having endured shit like this time and again speaks to their character, Sterling’s as well.
 

trs

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As someone who occasionally attends games in Spain, mostly in Madrid, I am continually shocked with the origin of racist chants coming from the stands. As many of you know who have been to European (and maybe elsewhere too, I can't speak to that) soccer matches, the environment is quite unlike other athletic events in the States. There is the exciting singing, clever chants, large flags, occasional flares, and as long as you're not at the Bernabeu, a constant din for the entire match. It's thrilling and fun and a great experience.

However, here's the other side. For example, 5 years ago I was at a Champions League derbi match between Atleti and Real. The seats were amazing, and a birthday gift. The game was being played at the now partially demolished Vicente Calderon stadium -- a place I've been to many times. For most matches, I sat in the "curva" opposite to the ultras, not the cheapest seats, but certainly on the more economic end of the price range. This time I was on the preferential side, about 20 rows up. The fans around me were considerably different. They were less raucous but more rich. I saw more collared shirts and turtle-neck sweaters than I did red and white striped jerseys. There were still a lot of kids and sunflower seeds, but this was definitely the "pijo" section of the stadium that I had not seen before. I expected a bit less singing and standing and more of a sedate experience. For the most part I was right -- more people on their mobiles, lots of selfies (it was a big game, I get it). The game started and soon thereafter Marcello got the ball, and I heard it from nearby, "Mono! Mooonnoooo!" It came from middle-aged upper class white (white) parents around me, and then their kids. It shocked me. Here I was, standing in the middle of a bunch of highly-educated fathers and a few mothers, in front of their children, chanting "monkey" at a black footballer. These people looked like they could be doctors, lawyers, professors -- whatever, they were "white-collar" for the lack of a better term.

I know that I was wrong to assume that racism was something that only came from "ultra" fans or from more "ignorant" people. Ignorance obviously knows no socio-economic boundaries, but it still was a shock. These people saw nothing wrong with such a public display of overt racism. These were university-educated (I'm making a bit of an assumption here I suppose) people, who have hopefully been exposed to compelling arguments against racism. I was reminded of an article by Wright Thompson published on espn.com a few years back (http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/9338962/when-beautiful-game-turns-ugly) when I talked about this experience to someone here and was told that it was "just a football game" and that "they probably didn't really mean it; it's just what you say at a match."

Anyway, I didn't do anything about it.

I echo what has been said above; it's perhaps impossible to appreciate the bravery and patience of these athletes who not only hear insults but experience a dimensional reality that privileged white people barely notice.
 
Last edited:

Spacemans Bong

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The process is shambolic, and isn’t even respected by a massive FA like Italy. The message is that there is no penalty for racism, at this point.

Sadly outside of conceding the match, I don’t know if England have any other recourse in situations like this but to follow the process. 100% agreed with the sentiment around Rashford and Mings’s statements. To keep their cool after having endured shit like this time and again speaks to their character, Sterling’s as well.
I'd like to think England sent Bulgaria a message by absolutely shitting all over them from a great height, with Rashford scoring and Sterling getting a brace, but who knows. The Prime Minister is pissed, but I doubt that he's serious given his status as a populist conservative who has form for making racist statements himself.
 

Dummy Hoy

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As someone who occasionally attends games in Spain, mostly in Madrid, I am continually shocked with the origin of racist chants coming from the stands. As many of you know who have been to European (and maybe elsewhere too, I can't speak to that) soccer matches, the environment is quite unlike other athletic events in the States. There is the exciting singing, clever chants, large flags, occasional flares, and as long as you're not at the Bernabeu, a constant din for the entire match. It's thrilling and fun and a great experience.

However, here's the other side. For example, 5 years ago I was at a Champions League derbi match between Atleti and Real. The seats were amazing, and a birthday gift. The game was being played at the new partially demolished Vicente Calderon stadium -- a place I've been to many times. For most matches, I sat in the "curva" opposite to the ultras, not the cheapest seats, but certainly on the more economic end of the price range. This time I was on the preferential side, about 20 rows up. The fans around me were considerably different. They were less raucous but more rich. I saw more collared shirts and turtle-neck sweaters than I did red and white striped jerseys. There were still a lot of kids and sunflower seeds, but this was definitely the "pijo" section of the stadium that I had not seen before. I expected a bit less singing and standing and more of a sedate experience. For the most part I was right -- more people on their mobiles, lots of selfies (it was a big game, I get it). The game started and soon thereafter Marcello got the ball, and I heard it from nearby, "Mono! Mooonnoooo!" It came from middle-aged upper class white (white) parents around me, and then their kids. It shocked me. Here I was, standing in the middle of a bunch of highly-educated fathers and a few mothers, in front of their children, chanting "monkey" at a black footballer. These people looked like they could be doctors, lawyers, professors -- whatever, they were "white-collar" for the lack of a better term.

I know that I was wrong to assume that racism was something that only came from "ultra" fans or from more "ignorant" people. Ignorance obviously knows no socio-economic boundaries, but it still was a shock. These people saw nothing wrong with such a public display of overt racism. These were university-educated (I'm making a bit of an assumption here I suppose) people, who have hopefully been exposed to compelling arguments against racism. I was reminded of an article by Wright Thompson published on espn.com a few years back (http://www.espn.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/9338962/when-beautiful-game-turns-ugly) when I talked about this experience to someone here and was told that it was "just a football game" and that "they probably didn't really mean it; it's just what you say at a match."

Anyway, I didn't do anything about it.

I echo what has been said above; it's perhaps impossible to appreciate the bravery and patience of these athletes who not only hear insults but experience a dimensional reality that privileged white people barely notice.
Great post. Thanks for sharing.
 

67YAZ

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I'd like to think England sent Bulgaria a message by absolutely shitting all over them from a great height, with Rashford scoring and Sterling getting a brace, but who knows. The Prime Minister is pissed, but I doubt that he's serious given his status as a populist conservative who has form for making racist statements himself.
There’s nothing an aspiring authoritarian hates more than being embarrassed.That’s what Borissov is upset about.

I’ll clarify - the in-game process worked. The officials were responsive and flexible. 50-odd supporters (ultras dresses in black?) were ejected, and that seemed to calm down the chants for the second half. That is a positive outcome, but not one that is going to prevent racist chants or change attitudes.

This was Bulgaria’s second strike. The stadium was already partially closed for this match because of previous racist chants. UEFA’s next step will be very telling.
 

Dummy Hoy

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Football Weekly had a special podcast today that did a very nice job of getting a bunch of different voices in to discuss the issue.
 

shaggydog2000

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A team walked off the pitch after racist abuse during an FA Cup qualifying match. Haringey Borough is a non-league team, so qualifying is a pretty big deal for them. It must have been a really hard decision for them, and I hope they don't get punished by the FA and still get a chance to make the first round.

 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
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Balotelli, playing for Brescia this season, was racially abused at Hellas Verona. In response, Balotelli punted the ball into the stands and walked off the pitch. The mandated UEFA warning announcement was made over the PA, and the match restarted with Balotelli. Soon after, he banged in a fine goal going right into the ultras’ end.

Serie A needs to get a handle on this shit immediately.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
2,006
Not that I'm deep into Italian politics, but I think things are likely going to get worse there as more migrants seek to come up from North Africa and cynical political parties look to foment xenophobia.

The international sponsors need to step in and take action or force action. I looked at Verona's sponsors, and they appear to be all domestic companies. I doubt that enough of them are willing to take a stand against racism in Italy today. But Nike is a Serie A sponsors, and it's a company like this that can bring meaningful pressure.
 

67YAZ

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 1, 2000
2,006
Hellas Verona bans the head of their ultras until 2030, same guy who made the Balotelli "can never be complete Italian" comments. The FA also passed down a one-match partial stadium closure.

Of course, not to be out done, 4 city counselors put forward a motion sue Balotelli for defamation.
 

PedroSpecialK

Comes at you like a tornado of hair and the NHL sa
SoSH Member
Dec 12, 2004
25,147
Cambridge, MA
He'll be in the stadium in all likelihood at the next Hellas home match.

These individual bans don't do anything. FIFA and UEFA are not in the least bit serious about dealing with racist behavior at matches and penalizing clubs and FAs that let it go unchecked.