Racism a ‘closed’ matter

by Ivan Bobanovic | Last updated

In the wake of allegations that some of the top soccer players in Europe are guilty of racist remarks towards fellow players, you would think that this would have the obsessive concern of the FIFA president, Sepp Blatter.   However, Blatter insists that racism is not relevant in soccer, and that players should resolve the situation with a handshake.  Wait, what?

For many of us it is difficult to imagine that racism is still prevalent in this day and age.  Yet, in the year 2011, we continue to see racism all over the world in all its forms.  It seems we cannot rid ourselves of the shackles of primitive thought.

What makes racism in soccer particularly disappointing is that FIFA recognises its responsibility to lead the way in abolishing all forms of discrimination in soccer. This can be seen with their banners that read “Say No to Racism” which players hold before big games and competitions. Further, Article 3 of the FIFA Statutes states:

Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.

After Blatter suggested that racism can be resolved with a handshake on the field, the media erupted in disgust.  Blatter was later quoted saying “There is no discrimination in my feelings, there is no racism, nothing at all…This matter for me is over. We go forward. There is zero tolerance (for) racism, zero tolerance (for) discrimination in all activities in the field of play and outside the field.”

It’s as if Blatter is saying the science is settled. It’s absolutely absurd.  How can you declare an issue that has the worlds attention done and dusted?

What racism?

Besiktas (Turkey) fans could face a two-match ban after Galatasaray defender Emmanuel Eboue was repeatedly pelted with objects during a Turkish league game against Besiktas.  Eboue was repeatedly hit on the head with a lighter and a plastic water bottle. Although there have been no reports of racism being the root cause, I suggest we take a deeper look.

I refuse to accept Blatter’s comments.  Racism is still present in soccer and we need to have cooperation from the top of the pyramid all the way to the bottom in order to help eradicate it.  If the president of FIFA is declaring it a non-issue, how is everyone else supposed to act?

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