Racism in Football: It just won’t go away
Despite the authorities best efforts, the prickly question of racism in football just won’t go away.
Just hours before his hearing at the FA, Chelsea Captain John Terry made a pre-emptive strike by announcing that ‘due to the FA pursuing the alleged racism’ towards Anton Ferdinand, he was stepping down as an England international.
The F A and the old rivals Manchester United and Liverpool all breathed a sigh of relief that at least Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra saga seems to have been put to bed. Both players and clubs sort to focus on the victims of the Hillsborough disaster and the recent reports that have exonerated the fans for the blame rather than the Suarez, Evra feud.
However, the harsh reality, that racism in football is never far away, was shockingly brought home to us again during Europa Cup game last week, when Italian fans supporting their club Lazio-which is in Rome- continually resorted to monkey chants whenever a Black Tottenham Hotspurs player touched the ball.
And before we quickly congratulate ourselves that the collective display of racism no longer occurs here in England, in the same week Chelsea midfielder, Nigerian Mikel Jon Obi had to call in the police after he received gross racial abuse on Twitter following his apology to fans for making a mistake on the field.
In dealing with racism on and off the field, the FA is right to adopt a zero tolerance. Until UEFA adopt a similar position, gross racism on the continent will continue even when, like Lazio, they have Black players in their team.
Finally and sadly back to the John Terry affair: His pre-emptive strike is to alert the footballing world that he is the victim here. I would suggest that we spare a thought for Anton Ferdinand who has received not only a deluge of racist abuse because of this affair, but also explicit death threats including being sent a bullet.
We can only hope that in the weeks ahead, the players the fans and the authorities all play their part in ensuring that racism has no part in our nation's most popular game. Football.