Initially, I opened with “Once again” but that’s hardly true. Racism always lurks beneath the surface in football, it’s poison coursing through the game’s veins. It’s a societal problem and until we, as humans, get to grips with that, eradicating racism from stadia is an almost impossible task. That doesn’t mean we should stop trying and thankfully, Kick It Out continues to make inroads.
But on their own, they cannot solve the problem. The disjointed approach of the English game in holding its own anti-racism day doesn’t help, albeit with caveat that promoting anti-racism can never be a bad thing.
The authorities must do more. Aleksander Ceferin admitted UEFA is willfully impotent. Referees ought to bring matches to a halt when racist incidents occur, he decreed. Then it’s up to the fans:
The moment a match is stopped, or it’s not played, I think that 90% of normal people in the stadium would kick the asses of those idiots.UEFA’s Anti-Racism Policy Revealed
So, the solution of the UEFA president is a return to violence in the stands.
Think about that for a moment. It’s a staggering indictment of UEFA. Clubs and FAs routinely get fined £30-40k or significantly less for incidents. What will happen to Montenegro for the racism at their match with England? Being forced to play home matches behind closed doors is a start but it needs to be more.
In addition, they should forfeit monetary rights to everything relating to the match as well as fined. Only when national associations are routinely losing hundreds of thousands of euros per match will action begin.
And Then The Old Attitudes Surface
The media, sitting in judgement over all it surveys, has much work to do as well. Hounding Raheem Sterling empowers racists and they didn’t waste any opportunity to do so. It was John Barnes again as soon as he pulled on an England shirt.
However, like Barnes, Sterling proved himself to be a stronger character than they thought. Willing to stand up to neanderthals, the City winger embraced his high profile and proves to be erudite on racism in football and beyond.
But old attitudes are never far from the surface.
Convicted paedophile and the colour of someone’s skin. Nice conflation of unrelated issues, you berk.
When you consider this along with the initial reactions of Bonucci and Allegri earlier this week, education isn’t just needed in the stands either. I found the words of the pair over Moises Kean the most disheartening I’ve heard in a long time, which given the clusterf*ck over Brexit is some ‘accolade’.
Gareth Southgate summed it up after the England game:
There’s an innocence about young people that is only influenced by older people. So, we have to make sure that education is right for everybody. In our country, it’s the same. I’ve said this before, I’m not sitting here just criticising what’s happened tonight because in our country we have the same issue. We’re not free of it.
In the end…I’m not the authority on the subject. I’m a middle-aged white guy speaking about racism.Gareth Southgate knows
Unai spoke on the subject on Friday:
I think we need to be together for the action we can take andUnai nails it
takingresponsibility, each team. I agree that we need to be together against racism and not let anything with racism in the stadiums.
Keep the fire alight!
And For Their Latest Trick, Clubs Eat Themselves Alive
The ECA wants a closed shop for the Champions League! Quelle surprise. Regular readers know I think the current format is a sh*tshow and it’s no surprise that Europe’s supposed elite want a bigger slice of the pie. With guarantees as well.
For English clubs, it’s a tough call. Two of the supposed big six will miss out and by every measure, Tottenham
Yet again, however, fans are secondary. Six more games and weekend fixtures mean curbing the Premier League. I have no issue with the number of teams dropping to 18; I’ve long given up on that happening unless it is forced onto the organisation.
That’s a small positive considering the heavy price the clubs will pay for ditching the domestic league, which is an aspect expected to happen with the closed shop.
There’s a small flaw in their plan. A large number of fans see the Champions League as anything but essential; domestic football is our bread and butter, it’s what we can relate to even in this supposedly ‘smaller’ world.
Football is determined to kill itself off. The domestic leagues association tells us their member clubs are against the move despite the fact that their member clubs are the ones holding the game hostage.
Everton Team News
I’ll throw some Arsenal news in, I suppose! It isn’t particularly heartwarming either. Koscielny, Ramsey and Xhaka are all being assessed which usually means they are out. However, Ramsey featured in training photos yesterday so there is hope. Lucas Torreira remains suspended, which feels like the longest three-match ban in the history of football.