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Discrimination in Football

As a white bloke in his 30s I understand that my experience of racism and discrimination is going to be nothing compared to others, does that preclude me from having an opinion? I hope not but I’ll let you be the judge.

Discrimination in Football

Sulley Muntari was recently racially abused in a Serie A game, surprise surprise. It’s the latest in a long line of such incidents that the Italian FA have spectacularly failed to address. I’m sure we all know that the odd moron is going to behave badly, the problem in Italy is that the authorities refuse to accept it’s happening. What happened to Mr Muntari? Yellow card. So, understandably, he decided to leave the pitch. The Italian FA then went on to complete the PR disaster of the year by giving him a suspension. Fortunately the international community wouldn’t let it drop so the ban was rescinded. What a shambles.

The above incident is an excellent example of when we should react and protest against this kind of behaviour, my frustration starts when certain people cling on to abuse suffered by others and claim they’re equally oppressed. The main culprit on this subject is Sol Campbell, he recently claimed he wasn’t given the England captaincy because he is black, instead David Beckham received the armband. This is an utter disgrace to anyone who suffered racism to pave the way for people like him. In the same interview he went on to say it took him a fortnight to get over Tottenham fans calling him Judas, is this having the mental strength to be captain? Nope. Beckham was given worse abuse at every away ground after the 1998 World Cup, it didn’t even register in his mind. Campbell also went on to say he couldn’t cope with a dip in form at Arsenal and he lost his place in the team as a result, did he fight for his place? Nope. Is this having the mental strength to be England captain? Nope. Muntari gets horribly abused because of his skin colour and Campbell isn’t made England captain because he’s mentally weak – yeah, that’s the same. Dwight Yorke has a similar stance, claiming he isn’t shortlisted for managerial roles because of his skin colour. If I owned a football club I’d want my manager to be loyal and trustworthy, a guy who has a disabled child whose existence he refuses to acknowledge doesn’t fall into this category – his skin colour is irrelevant.

We have some serious battles to fight on this subject, concentrating our focus on the fictitious problems of clowns like Sol Campbell only dilutes the actual problem. Why isn’t the media focussing on the horrendousness of the Russian FA? Black players in these countries suffer awful abuse and yet we talk about not having enough black and ethnic minority managers. The reason the media do this is simple, it’s easy to twist the numbers. Apparently BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) account for 25% of footballers but only 5% of coaches at senior levels. This huge gap is mostly due to genetic makeup, most agree there – the 100m sprint shows a greater disparity. However the UK population is approximately 14% BAME, so why don’t we have 14% of BAME coaches? Because they’re lumping ethnic groups together when it suits them and separating them when it doesn’t. The Asian community is the key to the figures being skewed, in general they don’t involve themselves in the game at any level – note the words “in general” before you start attacking me. I personally believe this has nothing to do with discrimination, to suggest a talent spotter ignores an Asian child who could be worth £20 million in a few years is ludicrous. That said, perhaps this is the area we need to look at, guess what? The FA is doing. It’s interesting to note that approximately 4% of doctors are black, which is similar to the 3% of the UK being black and similar to the 5% of coaches being BAME – quick let’s add people to the same group to make football seem racist. Many BAME players are foreign, what happens when these multimillionaires retire from playing? They go to their native countries and retire, in general. This certainly beats the stresses of management and it skews the percentages even further.

I’d like to point out that I’ve not got my eyes closed to the problem of racism, it’s out there, it’s a disgrace and whenever it rears its ugly head we should get out the guillotine. I’d just like us to focus on real issues rather than fake ones. I feel that English FA are pioneers in this area and we should do what we can to spread our message to the rest of the world, focussing on Campbell and Yorke isn’t going to achieve this.

I mentioned the Russian FA, what else can we expect from a country that has banned homosexuality being discussed with children, talk about burying your head in the sand. Why the World Cup is being played there is beyond me – Brazil will be coming out of their recession because of the boost in banana sales, those thugs love to throw their bananas. It’s ok, the 2022 World Cup is in Qatar, a country known for equality – I wonder if the Women’s World Cup will ever be held there.

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