Racism in association football

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Racism in association football is the abuse of players, officials and fans because of their skin colour, nationality or ethnicity. Some may be targeted (also) because of their association with an opposing team. However, there have been instances of individuals being targeted by their own fans.[1][2][3]

In May 2013, FIFA announced new measures to deal with racism in the sport.[4]

Africa[edit]

Zambia[edit]

Hanif Adams, the owner of Lusaka Dynamos, was subject to racist remarks due to his Indian heritage while running for the president of the Football Association of Zambia.[5]

Asia[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

There were reports of targeted racial attacks against the Philippine national football team while they competed at Mongkok Stadium in a friendly against the Hong Kong national football team. The event was held on June 4, 2013. Hong Kong fans reportedly called their counterparts "slaves", threw bottles at them, and booed at the Philippine national anthem. Hong Kong lost the friendly match to the Philippines with a score of 0-1. At the end of the game Hong Kong fans reportedly threw debris at the Philippine football team and gallery, occupied mostly by wives and children of the players.[6]

Benny Chan, spokesman of the Hong Kong Football Association, announced that the football body will release an official report to FIFA and the public after its investigation is completed. Philippine football officials are likewise waiting for the report before filing a complaint to FIFA[7]

Japan[edit]

In March 2014, J-League club Urawa Red Diamonds had to play to an empty stadium; their fans had been banned following racist banners displayed in previous matches.[8][9]

Philippines[edit]

The Philippine Football Federation filed a complaint with GMA Network over a comment made by news anchor Arnold Clavio over controversial remarks directed at the Philippines national football team. A popular radio and television newscaster and program host of morning news show Unang Hirit, Clavio was quoted as saying that foreign-born players are not Filipinos (emphasizing the fact that they were not born in the Philippines). Clavio later retracted this statement, insisting that he had not intended to offend anyone.[10]

Another racial incident occurred during a friendly match between the Philippines and Indonesia on 5 June 2012. A number of Indonesian fans were observed to be chanting "Hindi kayo Pilipino! (You are not Filipinos!)" at Filipino players of non-Philippine ancestry.[11]

Europe[edit]

Belgium[edit]

Oguchi Onyewu, an American of Nigerian descent, has been punched and shouted at by racist fans while playing for Standard Liège.[12] He's also had incidents with other players, such as Jelle Van Damme, who, according to Onyewu, repeatedly called him a "dirty ape"[13] during the 2008–09 Championship playoff, even after Onyewu relayed the information to the referees.[14] Van Damme denied the accusations following the match, and claimed that Onyewu had called him a "dirty Flemish".[13] Approximately two weeks later, on 2 June 2009, it was announced by Onyewu's lawyer that he was suing Van Damme in an effort to end on-field racism in European football.[15]

Zola Matumona left FC Brussels after he accused club chairman Johan Vermeersch of making racist remarks towards him during a crisis meeting at the struggling club. He is reported to have told Matumona to "think about other things than trees and bananas."[16]

Croatia[edit]

Henri Belle moved to Croatia at the beginning of 2011, signing with NK Istra 1961. He drew attention to himself both by good games and by controversy - by being the victim of racist taunts from some supporters.[17]

France[edit]

In January 2005, as part of an anti-racism initiative in the French league, Paris Saint-Germain's players wore all-white jerseys and the opposing RC Lens players wore all-black during a French league match. The move backfired as racist elements among PSG's crowd in the Kop of Boulogne sing "Come on the whites." The racist overtone was backed up with monkey chants from the Boulogne crowd when Lens players touch the ball.[18]

On 18 April 2007, Lyon player Milan Baroš was accused of racially abusing Rennes' Stéphane M'Bia by implying that M'Bia smelt.[19] On 4 May 2007 Baroš was found guilty of the gesture, but found not guilty of racism, and was banned for three league matches.[20]

On 17 September 2007, Libourne's Burkinabe player Boubacar Kébé was abused by fans of Bastia; he was red-carded for retaliating.[21] In February 2008, Bastia was again at the centre of controversy when their fans unfurled a racist banner, again aimed at Kébé, which delayed the kick-off of the match by three minutes.[22]

On 17 February 2008, Abdeslam Ouaddou of Valenciennes was racially abused by a fan from opponents Metz; Metz and the French league announced that they would be suing the fan in question. The match referee did not see the incident, and so booked Ouaddou for challenging the fan.[23] Valenciennes chairman Francis Decourrière later demanded that the match be replayed, "in front of children from Valenciennes and Metz."[24] Following this incident, the French Football Federation made steps to introduce harsher punishments.[25]

In March 2008, Bastia's Frédéric Mendy claimed he had been racially abused by Grenoble's fans.[26]

In November 2013, former defender and the French national team's most-capped player Lilian Thuram has said white players need to show solidarity with players who receive racist abuse, stating ""The action of not saying anything - somehow - it makes you an accomplice." [27]

Germany[edit]

Racism in Germany accelerated after the reunification of Germany; by 1992 neo-Nazi groups in Germany had begun to use football matches as occasions to plan and organise attacks against local ethnic communities and East European, particularly Turkish, refugees.[citation needed]

In 1994, Borussia Dortmund star Júlio César threatened to leave the club after he was refused admission to a local nightclub because of his black complexion.[2]

FC St. Pauli fans responded decisively to outbreaks of racism in the German game. With the slogan, Gegen rechts ('Against the Right'), a combination of fans and students took to the club's terraces in 1992 to stand up against politically motivated racism.

In December 1992, all the teams in the German League followed the St Pauli lead and, over one weekend, all players played in shirts displaying the slogan Mein Freund ist Ausländer ('My friend is a Foreigner'). The German Sports Youth's 1995 "No Chance for Hatred" campaign has promoted activities against racism and xenophobia on a national scale, encouraging local clubs to participate. Unfortunately, this campaign has not spurred German football authorities into further action.

Merkel (1996) reports that they vehemently refuse to acknowledge that racism is a major problem, and dismiss racist abuses as isolated incidents which have nothing to do with the sport. Most of their measures are concerned with law and order — cutting down violence at matches — but anti-racist action is very sparse. Anti-racist initiatives are designed to create positive publicity but generally consist of little more than token gestures, such as rock concerts and short term advertising campaigns - and wearing slogans on shirts.[citation needed]

Racism in German football is much more subtle than in other parts of Europe; monkey chants have been replaced with codes, such as the number 88, which stands for 'HH' or 'Heil Hitler' ('H' is the eighth letter of the alphabet in German and English). Some teams, for example Hannover 96, have banned such symbols from their stadiums.[28]

On 25 March 2006, in a match between FC Sachsen Leipzig and Hallescher FC, Leipzig's Nigerian midfielder Adebowale Ogungbure was spat at and called 'Nigger' and 'ape' by opposition fans, who later aimed monkey noises at him. In retaliation he placed two fingers above his mouth in reference to Adolf Hitler's mustache and performed a Nazi salute.[29] Ogungbure was arrested by German police, as it is illegal to make Nazi gestures for political or abusive purposes, but criminal proceedings were dropped 24 hours later.[30]

In April 2006, in a match between St. Pauli and Chemnitzer FC, visiting Chemnitz fans stormed Turkish-owned stores chanting "Sieg Heil" and waving imitation Nazi flags. Some shouted: "We're going to build a subway from St Pauli to Auschwitz".[30]

Ghana-born German international striker Gerald Asamoah has frequently been the target of racist abuse. On 10 September 2006 Hansa Rostock were investigated for racist abuse in a friendly game[31] and were subsequently found guilty; the team was fined $25,000.[32]

On 19 August 2007 it was announced that Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller would be investigated by the German Football Association (DFB) after apparently calling Asamoah a 'black pig'.[33]

On 4 February 2007 a racist German football fan was apprehended by fellow fans during a match between Energie Cottbus and VfL Bochum, and faces a lifetime ban.[34]

Racist chants in Cottbus are said to be commonplace.[34]

Torsten Ziegner was given a five-match ban in October 2008 for racially abusing Nigerian player Kingsley Onuegbu during a match against Eintracht Braunschweig.[35]

In March 2012, Kevin Großkreutz was accused of racially abusing Gerald Asamoah in the aftermath of Borussia Dortmund's DFB-Pokal semi final victory over Greuther Furth.

Italy[edit]

Ronny Rosenthal, playing for Israel's Maccabi Haifa in 1989, was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts.[36]

Black footballers playing in the Serie A top flight in 1992–1993 were also racially abused. Two black Dutch players, Ruud Gullit and Aron Winter, have spoken out against such racist taunts. Their complaints spurred a day of action on 13 December 1992, with the slogan No al razzimo! (No To Racism) being paraded by all players in the two Italian divisions.[36]

Paul Ince also complained about open abuse during his spell with Inter Milan in Italy between 1995 & 1997.[2]

On 27 November 2005, Marco Zoro attempted to stop the MessinaInter Milan match by leaving the field with the ball, after being tormented by racist taunts from some Inter supporters. He was eventually convinced to keep playing by other players, notably by Inter's Adriano. These facts then brought strong and unanimous condemnations by the whole football community within Italy, and even a 5 minute delay for an anti-racism display for all the matches to be played in the next week in the country. The actions of the Inter supporters were also brought to the attention of the European football governing body UEFA as well as that of the European Union.[12]

On April 2009 Inter Milan's Mario Balotelli, an Italian footballer of Ghanaian descent, was subjected to racial abuse from Juventus fans.[37] They were handed a one game home fan ban as a result.[38] In Euro 2012, he fell victim to monkey chants during a match against Spain.[39][40]

On 11 May 2014 bananas were thrown at Milan's Kevin Constant and Nigel de Jong by Atalanta fans during his team's 2-1 defeat.[41] The club were later fined 40,000 euros.[42]

Lithuania[edit]

On 24 March 2007, in a match between France and Lithuania, a banner was unfurled by Lithuanian supporters that depicted a map of Africa, painted with the French flag colors (blue, white and red), with a slogan of "Welcome to Europe".[43]

Montenegro[edit]

In a match between Rangers and FK Zeta, Rangers players DaMarcus Beasley (an African American) and Jean-Claude Darcheville (a black Frenchman) were subjected to racist abuse by FK Zeta players[44] and Zeta were later fined £9,000.[45]

Netherlands[edit]

In a 1991 interview, Heerenveen manager Fritz Korbach racially abused two black players, calling Bryan Roy "a short fucking negro" and Romário "that coffee bean of PSV").[2][46] During Euro 96, the Afro-Surinamese Dutch player Edgar Davids was sent home after publicly alleging discrimination within the team's organisation.[2]

In 2004 a Dutch match between ADO Den Haag and PSV Eindhoven was abandoned after 80 minutes due to racist chanting from some of the crowd.[47]

Norway[edit]

In one case, young player Caleb Francis was severely abused in his debut match for Kongsvinger IL. The abuse halted and nearly broke his career, but he returned to Kongsvinger's senior team after a two years,[48] and enjoyed a long career.

Several other players have experienced racism, often while playing national or club matches abroad. These players include Daniel Braaten[49] and Pa Modou Kah.[50]

Top-tier club Vålerenga Fotball famously played their with the slogan "Vålerenga Against Racism" instead of a shirt sponsor in the 1997 season.[51] An official campaign, initiated by the footballers' trade union, is called "Give Racism the Red Card".

Poland[edit]

According to The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism football stadiums in Poland are recruiting ground for extremist organisations.[52][53] Until a few years ago, Neo-fascist symbols were a common sight there.[52][54]

During the Extraordinary Congress of the International Football Federation (FIFA), held in Buenos Aires on 6–7 July 2001, the problem of racism in Polish football was discussed and Polish national football association was called to join the struggle against racism.[52] The problem of antisemitism in Polish football has drawn international criticism. Poland was named as one of the worst offenders, in British MP John Mann report, which describes anti-Semitic incidents in 18 countries across Europe. It was noted that Polish fans routinely call each other 'Jews' as a term of abuse.[55] In April 2008 ŁKS Łódź player Arkadiusz Mysona wore a shirt which said "Śmierć żydzewskiej kurwie" ("Death to Widzew-Jewish Whore", which is a word play, used by the LKS Łódź supporters, who call fans of their local rivals Jews) after a match in the Polish Ekstraklasa.[56] Mysona said afterwards that the shirt was given to him by a fan and he hadn´t checked it.

Supporters of the football club Cracovia from Kraków often refer to themselves as "Jews" in a positive manner, much in the same way as fans of AFC Ajax in the Netherlands. In a manner similar to Ajax, the self-identification is related to the team's history. Quite a few of the founders of both clubs from Łódź were Polish Jews.

The BBC Panorama program toured football matches in Poland before the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament. The journalists recorded "a chorus of anti-Semitic chanting" and witnessed "black football players enduring monkey chants from the terraces".[57]

Russia[edit]

Cameroonian player André Bikey suffered racist abuse while playing for Lokomotiv.[58]

Brazilian footballer Antonio Geder of Saturn Moscow was received with a chorus of monkey chants at Petrovsky Stadium in a match against Zenit.[59]

In March 2008, black players of French side Marseille - including André Ayew, Ronald Zubar and Charles Kaboré - were targeted by fans of Zenit Saint Petersburg;[60] Zenit fans were later warned by police in Manchester not to repeat their behaviour ahead of the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.[61] Later Zenit's coach Dick Advocaat revealed the club's supporters were racist. When they attempted to sign Mathieu Valbuena, a Frenchman, many fans asked "Is he a negro?"[62] Also Serge Branco, who played for Krylia Sovetov, accused Zenit's staff of racism. "Each time I play in St Petersburg I have to listen to racist insults from the stands. Zenit bosses do not do anything about it which makes me think they are racists too."[62]

On 20 August 2010, Peter Odemwingie, a Soviet-born Nigerian international, joined Premier League team West Bromwich Albion. Shortly after signing for West Brom, photographs showed Lokomotiv Moscow fans celebrating the sale of Odemwingie through the use of racist banners targeted at the player. One banner included the image of a banana and read "Thanks West Brom" [63]

On 12 February 2011, Roberto Carlos signed a contract with Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala. In March, during a game away at Zenit Saint Petersburg, a banana was held near Carlos by one of the fans as the footballer was taking part in a flag-raising ceremony.[64] In June, in a match away at Krylia Sovetov Samara, Roberto Carlos received a pass from the goalkeeper and was about to pass it when a banana was thrown onto the pitch, landing nearby. The 38-year-old Brazilian picked it up and threw it by the sidelines, walking off the field before the final whistle and raising two fingers at the stands, indicating this was the second such incident since March.[65]

In December 2012, Zenit Saint Petersburg fans published a manifesto demanding that the club exclude all non-white and homosexual players from the club's roster. The demands were refused by the club, which released a statement saying that "the team's policy is aimed at development and integration into the world soccer community, and holds no archaic views." Until the summer of 2012, Saint Petersburg were the only team in the Russian top flight never to have signed a minority player.[66]

In October 2013, Yaya Toure received racist abuse from opposition fans while playing against CSKA Moscow in Russia. The club's stadium was partially closed as punishment.[67][68][69][70] Toure suggest that black players might boycott the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be held in Russia, if racism continued in the country.[71]

In September 2014 Christopher Samba was racially abused playing in the Moscow derby. As a result Torpedo Moscow had to close part of their stadium,[72] although Samba was also banned for two games for swearing at the racist fans.[73]

Serbia[edit]

In October 2006, 37 Borac Cacak fans were arrested and eight faced criminal charges after racially abusing the club's Zimbabwean player Mike Temwanjera during a first division match.[74] Borac Cacak was at the centre of more controversy in March 2008 when a Ghanaian player, Solomon Opoku, was attacked by fans; six fans were later arrested, with four being later charged.[75]

On 29 November 2006, Hajduk Kula coach Nebojša Vučićević racially insulted Red Star Belgrade's Senegal defender Ibrahima Gueye.[76] The coach responded to the accusation: "I told my players several times to put pressure on the black guy, I don't see anything wrong with that."[76]

During a match against England U-21, an unnamed Serbia U-21 player was accused of racially abusing the black English defender Justin Hoyte, while the Serbian fans were alleged to have racially abused England's Nigerian-born full-back Nedum Onuoha.[77]

Following racist abuse from montenegrin Club FK Zeta fans, DaMarcus Beasley recalled previous instances of racism while playing away in Belgrade, from fans of Red Star.[78] However, Red Star has been defended by some of its black players, such as Segundo Castillo and Franklin Salas, with Castillo saying that "Red Star fans are not racist".[79] Rangers boss Walter Smith admitted he had not heard the abuse, having been absorbed in the game.[78]

Slovakia[edit]

On 4 April 2007 football supporters from Slovan Bratislava displayed a banner which contained the words 'Alles Gute Adi' and a smiley-head face of Adolf Hitler during a match against FC Senec; racist chants were also heard. Just three days later, on 7 April 2007, Slovan Bratislava fans were responsible for directing monkey chants at Artmedia's Karim Guede.[80]

Spain[edit]

Aston Villa's Dalian Atkinson returned from Spain after one season with Real Sociedad, unhappy with the reception he received, and identifying racial abuse as a major factor in his rapid departure from the Spanish club.[2]

Felix Dja Ettien suffered racial abuse when he first signed for Levante; he was ignored by the coach due to his inability to speak Spanish, and whenever he fell ill he was accused of having malaria or AIDS.[81]

During a training session in 2004, a Spanish TV crew filmed Spanish national team head coach Luis Aragonés trying to motivate José Antonio Reyes by making offensive and racist references to Reyes' then teammate at Arsenal, Thierry Henry. The phrase used was "Demuestra que eres mejor que ese negro de mierda", translated as "Show that you're better than that black shit". The incident caused uproar in the British media with calls for Aragonés to be sacked. However these opinions were not widely supported in Spain, with the national football federation declining to take any action, and politicians being slow to denounce the remarks.[citation needed] When Spain played England in a friendly match at the Bernabéu soon after, on 17 November 2004, the atmosphere was hostile. Whenever black England players touched the ball, a significant proportion of the Spanish crowd began to make monkey chants, in particular to Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole. And when England sang their national anthem before kick off, Spanish fans also racially chanted against English players. Aragonés' remarks were widely blamed by the British press for inciting the incident. After an investigation into the events during the match, UEFA fined the RFEF 100,000 CHF/ 87,000 USD and warned that any future incidents would be punished more severely.[82] The incident even drew reactions from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sports Minister Richard Caborn.,[83] with Caborn making the claim that the behaviour of Spanish fans was twenty or thirty years behind that their British counterparts.[84] UEFA noted that possible punishments could include suspension from major international tournaments or the closure of Spain home international matches to supporters. On 7 February 2007 Aragonés won an appeal over the offence, with the misdemeanour being downgraded to "conduct which could be considered to be racist".[85]

In February 2005, Samuel Eto'o suffered from racially-driven verbal abuse by some Real Zaragoza spectators during a match for FC Barcelona. The fans began making monkey-like chants whenever Eto'o had possession of the ball and peanuts were hurled onto the pitch. Eto'o threatened to leave the pitch in the middle of the game, but was prevented by the intervention of his team-mates and the referee, who rushed to the pitch to calm him down. His teammate Ronaldinho, who has suffered similar abuses but less intensely, said he was fed up with the sounds and that if Eto'o had left the pitch, he would have done the same. As Barcelona won 4-1, Eto'o danced like a monkey, saying rival fans were treating him as a monkey.[86] Referee Fernando Carmona Mendez did not mention the incidents in his match report, commenting only that the behaviour of the crowd was "normal".[86] The fans were identified to police by fellow spectators and they were fined and banned from attending sporting events for five months.[87] Eto'o declared in the aftermath that the punishment was insufficient and that La Romareda, Real Zaragoza's stadium, should have been closed for at least one year. However, Eto'o's coach, Frank Rijkaard, told him to concentrate on football and to stop talking about the incident. Eto'o has stated that he does not take his children to football matches, due the prevalent racism[88] and has also suggested that players walk off if they become victims of racism.[89]

Many other African footballers have also been victims of racial abuse, such as Cameroon's Idriss Carlos Kameni, who was abused while playing for Espanyol against Atlético Madrid, who were fined €6000.[36]

In January 2009, the Royal Spanish Football Federation fined Real Madrid about $3,900 after a group of fans made fascist gestures and chanted fascist slogans at a match. Match referee Alfonso Perez Burrull cited "extremist or radical symbolism", and chanted making reference to "the gas chamber."¨[90]

On 27 April 2014 Barcelona player Dani Alves was targeted by Villarreal fans, who threw a banana at him. Alves picked up the banana, peeled it, and took a bite.[91] Team-mate Neymar's response - to post a photograph of himself on social media also eating a banana - went viral.[92] Other footballers have also since taken photographs of themselves eating bananas.[93] Cyrille Regis, who had been racially abused while a player in the 1970s and 80s, expressed concern that the viral campaign would detract from the important issues of combating racism in the game.[94] Alves said that whoever threw the banana at him should be publicly shamed,[95] and on 30 April 2014 a man was arrested in connection with the incident.[96] Villareal were later fined €12,000 for the incident.[97]

In early May 2014, Papakouly Diop complained of receiving racist abuse from opposition fans.[98][99]

Sweden[edit]

In 2009, fans of Swedish football team IFK Göteborg attacked supporters of rivals Malmö FF by referring to them as "Rosengårdstattare" ("Rosengård gypsies"), in a racist reference to the large immigrant population of Malmö.[100][101] Also, fans of Helsingborgs IF have been known to yell monkey chants at opposing dark-skinned players.[102]

Switzerland[edit]

Fwayo Tembo left FC Basel after he accused club coach Thorsten Fink of making racist remarks towards him during a training session. Fink is reported to have told a collaborator to "get the monkey down from the tree."[103]

United Kingdom[edit]

England[edit]

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) have all launched initiatives in a bid to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to attend matches.[104]

Arthur Wharton, born in Gold Coast, was the world's first Black professional footballer, and played as a goalkeeper for Darlington, although he was pre-dated by Andrew Watson, who was a Scottish amateur footballer. Other early non-white footballers include Walter Tull and Hong Y Soo.[105]

The dark-skinned Everton F.C. center-forward, Dixie Dean, recalled how racist comments were aimed at him as he left the pitch at half time during a match in London in the 1930s. Dean, reportedly, punched the offender himself before disappearing into the players' tunnel. The authorities took no action against Dean, and a nearby police officer was alleged to have informed the victim that he had "deserved" his punishment.[2]

Steve Mokone, a black South African who later played for Barcelona, left Coventry City after his manager said to him "We brought you over here and you are not satisfied. That's the trouble with you people"; Mokone interpreted this as being racist, and he swiftly signed for Heracles Almelo.[106]

The player Roger Verdi, who is of Indian origin, changed his name from Rajinder Singh Birdi due to racism.[107]

In the 1960s West Ham United players, Clyde Best who is black and from Bermuda, and Ade Coker were subjected to "monkey chants" and had bananas thrown at the them during West Ham's games. Best had blamed this on the influence of the National Front on the football terraces.[108]

In the 1970s, future England full-back Viv Anderson endured racist abuse as an 18 year old playing for Nottingham Forest against Newcastle, and was pelted with apples and pears from Carlisle supporters while warming up for Nottingham Forest as a substitute. When he retreated back to the bench to inform manager Brian Clough of the abuse he was told to go back out and fetch him 'two pears and a banana'.[109]

In the 1980s, racism in football in England was rampant. Paul Canoville was abused by his own fans when he warmed up for Chelsea before making his début.[110] Garth Crooks was regularly subject to racist chants and banners from opposing fans during his time at Spurs. Cyrille Regis endured monkey chants from Newcastle fans on his away début for West Bromwich Albion and was later sent a bullet in the post following his call up to the England squad.[111] In 1987 John Barnes was pictured back-heeling a banana off the pitch during a match for Liverpool against Everton, whose fans chanted 'Everton are white'.[112]

Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore accused Liverpool defender Steve Harkness of racist abuse during a match at Villa Park in April 1998.[113]

On 21 April 2004, Ron Atkinson resigned from ITV after he was caught making a racist remark live on air about the black Chelsea player Marcel Desailly: believing the microphone to be switched off, he said, "...he [Desailly] is what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger". Although transmission in the UK had finished, the microphone gaffe meant that his comment was broadcast to various countries in the Middle East. He also left his job as a columnist for The Guardian "by mutual agreement" as a result of the comment. In 2004 Millwall became the first club to be charged by The Football Association over racist behaviour by their fans. The charges related to abuse aimed at Liverpool player Djimi Traore.[114] On 13 January 2007, The FA charged Newcastle player Emre Belözoğlu with "using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words", referring to an incident during the 3-0 defeat by Everton at Goodison Park on 30 December 2006.[115] Emre was, on 16 February 2007, accused of more racist behaviour, this time against Bolton's El Hadji Diouf.[116] However, on 1 March 2007, it was revealed that Diouf would not be pursuing his claim.[117] It was also later revealed that Watford player Al Bangura had released a statement declaring that he was the victim of racist abuse from Emre.[117] On 19 March he was cleared of the charges relating to the Everton game.[118]

On 6 March 2007 it was announced that the Metropolitan Police were investigating apparent anti-Semitic chants by West Ham fans before the match with Spurs two days previously after a video of the offence surfaced on the internet.[119]

On 7 April 2007, in a match between Rotherham and Gillingham, Gillingham keeper Kelvin Jack was racially abused by a Rotherham fan. On 13 April 2007, the fan was banned for life from the club.[120]

Following his appointment as manager in September 2007, Israeli Avram Grant has been the subject of anti-Semitic taunts from some Chelsea fans; Grant's father was a Polish survivor of the German Nazi Holocaust;[121] Grant has also received death threats and anti-Semitic post.[122]

In November 2008, Middlesbrough's Egyptian forward Mido was subjected to Islamophobic chanting from a small number of Newcastle United fans. Mido had been subjected to similar chants the previous year, again from Newcastle fans[123] and also in 2007 by Southampton fans and West Ham fans who had referred to Mido as a "shoe bomber" in reference to his likeness to Richard Reid, the British terrorist jailed in 2003.[124]

During a League Cup match between Blackpool and Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on 22 September 2009, Blackpool player Jason Euell, who at the time was sat on the substitutes bench was racially abused by a Stoke fan, who was ejected from the stadium and subsequently arrested by Staffordshire Police, before being released pending inquiries.[125] Euell confronted the supporter that was taunting him. Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who had to restrain Euell, was furious in his post-match interview, saying:

We are human beings and Jason is a footballer. The colour of his skin shouldn't matter. It was disgusting. The stewards believed what Jason said, got the bloke out and I hope he is banned for life. (He is) an absolute disgrace of a human being. I thought those days had gone. Jason was just sat in the dugout at the time. I saw his reaction and I had to calm him down. It's absolutely disgraceful.[126]

Euell, who received an official apology from Stoke City, later said:

It did hurt. I felt I had to stand up for all colours and creeds and show that we won't accept it. I'm proud that I made a stand. It was a shock to hear what came out of the guy's mouth. Racism in football is not dead and buried but it's still a shock to hear that kind of thing in close proximity. There were people near the idiot who didn't agree with it, but there were others who turned a blind eye, which was disappointing.[127]

In the wake of the incident, Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp called for fans who racially abuse players to be imprisoned: "That is disgusting – there's no place for that in the game. Surely we can't have that sort of behaviour now? Anyone who does it should be put in prison – not banned from football. Stick them where they belong, in the nut-house. It's wrong."[125]

In April 2011, an initiative was launched by comedian David Baddiel to tackle anti-semitism in the sport, which was backed by players including Frank Lampard, Ledley King and Kieran Gibbs.[128]

Meanwhile, also in April 2011, two followers of Chesterfield were arrested before the start of a game against Torquay United after racially abusing a young black Torquay player who was taking part in the pre-match entertainment. Offenders Trevor Laughton and Joanne Worrall were subsequently banned from watching football or from approaching the venue of any Chesterfield matches for three years.[129]

On 15 October 2011, Luis Suárez was accused of racially abusing Patrice Evra,[130] and the English Football Association opened up an investigation into the incident.[130] On 16 November, the FA announced they would be charging Suárez, while his club, Liverpool, announced support for their player.[131] On 20 December, the FA concluded a seven-day hearing and fined Suárez £40,000 fine and banned him for eight matches for racially abusing Evra.[132] Suárez had used the word "negrito" towards Evra meaning "little black man" in Spanish. Suarez claimed that he meant the term to be taken as it is purportedly used in South America, as a term of endearment, but this explanation was not accepted by the FA.[133]

On 23 October 2011, in a match between QPR and Chelsea, Anton Ferdinand alleged racial abuse by Chelsea captain, John Terry, claiming Terry called him a "fucking black cunt" during the game; a claim denied by Terry.[134] On 1 November, the Metropolitan Police announced a formal investigation into the allegations.[135] In January 2012 Ferdinand received death threats and a bullet sent through the post.[136] On 1 February 2012 at Westminster Magistrates Court, Terry was accused of a racially-aggravated public order offence in relation to the game at Loftus Road on 23 October. He entered a not-guilty plea and stood trial on 9 July.[137] On 13 July, after a four-day trial, Terry was acquitted.[138] In July, following the court hearing Terry was charged by The Football Association with "using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2]". In September 2012, after a four day hearing, he was found guilty, banned for four games and fined £220,000.[139] Evidence in his defence at Terry's trial had been given by his team-mate, Ashley Cole. Anton Ferdinand's brother Rio later referred to Cole via Twitter as a "choc ice" meaning someone who is black on the outside but white on the inside. In August 2012, The Football Association found this to be a reference to ethnic origin, colour or race and fined Ferdinand £45,000.[140]

On 29 May 2012 the BBC reported that Swindon Town had conceded, in a response to a solicitor's letter from Jonathan Tehoue, that manager Paolo Di Canio, a self-described fascist, had made an inappropriate remark to the player which Tehoue deemed to be racist. Before this news had broken Swindon's Chairman had been quoted as being entirely supportive of Di Canio and had denied that the manager had racially insulted Tehoue.[141] In October 2013 six supporters of Charlton Athletic were sent to prison having been found guilty of racially aggravated fear of violence. The supporters had been on a train returning from a game against Fulham singing songs glorifying Gary Dobson, the racially motivated murderer of Stephen Lawrence.[142]

In March 2014 two Wolves players (Carl Ikeme and George Elokobi) stated they were racially abused by opposition fans while playing away at Walsall.[143] No action was taken against the club.[144]

In August 2014 Malky Mackay and Iain Moody were accused of sending each other racist, sexist and homophobic text messages. Moody left his job as sporting director of Crystal Palace as a result.[145] Mackay apologised for the texts.[146] The League Manager's Association defended Mackay, claiming that the texts were merely "banter"; the LMA had to later apologise for this as well.[147][148] Mackay later denied being racist, sexist or homophobic.[149] In September 2014, Liverpool player Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist abuse on Twitter following his tweet mocking Manchester United. Balotelli had tweeted "Man Utd... LOL'", following their 5-3 defeat by Leicester City.[150]

Examples[edit]

Date indicates when the incident occurred, rather than when an outcome was reached.

Date Incident Outcome Source
15 October 2011 Danny Hylton of Aldershot racially abused two Barnet players. Hylton was given an eight-match ban and fined £1,000. Report
12 March 2012 Sky Sports cameras caught an Arsenal fan abusing Newcastle's Cheick Tioté. The man was arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public-order offence. Report
20 March 2012 Crawley Town's Dean Howell was allegedly racially abused by a Gillingham supporter. Unknown. Report
15 April 2012 A 55-year-old man racially abused Didier Drogba during the 2011-12 FA Cup semi-final. The fan was given a lifetime ban from Stamford Bridge and a three-year football banning order. Report
6 October 2012 Marvin Sordell claimed he was racially abused by a Millwall fan whilst playing for Bolton Wanderers. The 13-year-old was given a ban for "the foreseeable future". Report
31 October 2012 A Chelsea fan was caught making a "monkey" gesture to Manchester United's Danny Welbeck. The 28-year-old is banned from Stamford Bridge pending a police investigation. Report
10 November 2012 Six Millwall fans arrested after unfurling a racist banner aimed at Marvin Sordell. Report

Scotland[edit]

Andrew Watson was the first black football player to represent Scotland. Watson never turned professional, however, so Arthur Wharton is sometimes reported as being the first black British footballer.[105]

The book Race, Sport and British Society says there was racist abuse of Celtic player Paul Wilson by Rangers fans in the 1970s: "Rangers fans repeatedly bayed 'Wilson's a Paki' when Celtic played Rangers".[151] There have been reports that some Rangers fans used to sing "I'd rather be a darkie than a Tim".[152][153][154] The book Sport and National Identity In the Post-War World says "black players in Scotland were greeted with bananas thrown from the crowd and a barrage of 'monkey grunts', notably Mark Walters of Rangers and Paul Elliott of Celtic."[154] On 2 January 1988, Rangers winger Mark Walters made his debut in the Old Firm derby match at Celtic Park. Rangers lost 2–0 and Walters was subjected to racist abuse from opposing Celtic fans who were caught on camera chanting like monkeys, throwing fruit, (mostly bananas) onto the pitch and dressing in monkey costumes.[155] It was reported that Rangers fans used "implicit racism" on the same day by singing "I'd rather be a darkie than a Tim (Celtic Fan)".[154] Although Celtic slammed the perpetrators, the Scottish Football Association remained silent.[156] According to Walters, he experienced even worse racial abuse in Edinburgh against Hearts.[151] Following racist abuse aimed at Walters, Rangers banned some of their own season ticket holders.[157] Andrew Smith from The Scotsman newspaper stated: "It is depressing to think that enforcement as much as enlightenment might account for Walters being the only black footballer in this country to have had bananas thrown at them."[155]

Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso issued a public apology after a match in December 1999 for making racist comments against Borussia Dortmund's Nigerian striker Victor Ikpeba.[158] In March 2003, Rangers fans were accused of racially abusing Bobo Balde and Momo Sylla.[159][160][161][162] Rangers chairman John McClelland stated that ""There was such a crescendo during Saturday's match although I thought I heard noises of this kind I can't be 100% sure."[162] In May 2004, Marvin Andrews condemned racism from some Rangers fans.[163]

In November 2004, then manager of Celtic Martin O'Neill suggested Neil Lennon was the subject of chants of a "racial and sectarian manner".[164]

During a 2007 Scottish Cup tie, St. Johnstone player Jason Scotland was the target of racist taunts by a handful of Motherwell fans. The offenders were promptly reprimanded by the spectators around them and were reported to police and match stewards.[165] Motherwell chairman John Boyle later issued an apology on behalf of the club.[166] Motherwell were to court further controversy on 3 September 2007 when Laryea Kingston of Hearts was abused, although Motherwell refuted the claims.[167]

In October 2009, Rangers player Maurice Edu said he was racially abused by some Rangers fans while leaving Ibrox after a UEFA Champions League defeat by Unirea Urziceni.[3] Edu wrote on Twitter: "Not sure what hurt more: result or being racially abused by couple of our own fans as I'm getting in my car."

Three Scottish judges ruled in June 2009 that The Famine song is racist because it targets people of Irish origin.[168][169] George Peat, President of the Scottish Football Association, has suggested that the song causes embarrassment for Scottish football and should be stamped out.[170] Peat has also stated that the SFA is determined to contribute to the eradication of offensive songs from Scottish football.[171] In November 2008, a Rangers fan was found guilty of a breach of the peace (aggravated by religious and racial prejudice) for singing The Famine Song during a game against Kilmarnock.[172] It was widely reported after an Old Firm game in February 2009 that Rangers fans had sung The Famine Song at Celtic Park.[173][174] The Famine Song was also sung in March 2011 at a Scottish football game by Rangers fans,[175][176] nevertheless, Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill described the match as a "great advert for Scottish football." [177] The Herald journalist Doug Gillon has written that "the sectarian intolerance which divides Scottish society [...] is rooted in anti-Irish racism."[178]

In February 2011, in an Old Firm match at Celtic Park a Celtic supporter was caught mocking black Rangers player El Hadji Diouf with monkey noises and gestures as he was about to take a corner kick.[179]

In April 2011, the Manager of Celtic Neil Lennon received an explosive device in the post. Brian McNally described this as due to "anti-Catholic and anti-Irish racism".[180] A number of high profile Celtic fans also were sent suspected explosive devices. Leader of the Scottish Conservative Party Annabel Goldie MSP described bullets sent to Neil Lennon and a number of Celtic players as "racism and sectarianism".[181] After an attempted assault on Neil Lennon at Hearts stadium Tynecastle, a motion against anti-Irish racism was lodged in the Scottish Parliament.[182]

Turkey[edit]

On 15 April 2012, Emre Belözoğlu, a footballer of Fenerbahçe, was accused of making racist comments on the pitch towards Trabzonspor's Didier Zokora. Then after the match, Zokora told Lig TV:

Emre and I came face to face during the match. I'll tell you what he said word for word. He called me: 'A fucking nigger'. This is the first time in my life something like this has happened to me. Emre has Africans like Yobo and Sow as team-mates – I can't understand why he'd say such a thing. We're trying to get on with our jobs. What does the colour of our skin matter? Fans, FIFA, the press are all against racist statements. I hope something like this doesn't go unpunished.[183]

Lip-reading professionals say Emre has said the words "fucking nigger". Emre received a two-game ban for his actions, after it was concluded that he had used abusive, but not racist, language by the authorities. There are still questions about the low ban he received.[184]

On 12 May 2013, before the match between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, Galatasaray striker Didier Drogba along with his international teammate Emmanuel Eboue were racially abused by certain Fenerbahçe fans during the pre-match warmups. They were allegedly shown bananas. Television cameras and some pictures clearly captured a fan waving around a banana. Though there were no monkey chants or gestures of that sort, the "banana" caused a huge controversy and Fenerbahce has been condemned. This is the second ever racism incident in Turkey, which involves Fenerbahçe again, after the events that took place between Emre Belozoglu and Didier Zokora in 2012.[185][186][187]

Middle East[edit]

Israel[edit]

Racist incidents date back to at least the 1970s, such as when Arab-Israeli player Jimmy Turk joined Hapoel Tel Aviv. Turk was subjected to anti-Arab abuse during nearly every game he played.[188] According to Itzik Shanan, director of communications at the New Israel Fund, among most racist fans are supporters of Beitar Jerusalem, also Hapoel Tel Aviv fans have been using slogans promoting a Holocaust against Maccabi Tel Aviv.[189] Israeli right-wing football supporters taunt Arab players during games, especially those who play for the mixed Arab-Jewish team Bnei Sakhnin.[188]

Under Israeli law, football fans can be prosecuted for incitement of racial hatred. The "New Voices from the Stadium" program, run by the New Israel Fund (NIF) amasses a "racism index" that is reported to the media on a weekly basis, and teams have been fined and punished for the conduct of their fans. According to Steve Rothman, the NIF San Francisco director, "Things have definitely improved, particularly in sensitizing people to the existence of racism in Israeli society."[190] In 2006, Israel joined Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), a network set up to counter racism in football.[191]

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

At a 1994 match in Melbourne between the Croatian community supported Melbourne Knights and the Greek community supported South Melbourne, many ethnic slurs were exchanged between the two sets of supporters.[192]

North America[edit]

Mexico[edit]

In the first day of the Apertura 2006 tournament, the fans of Santos Laguna made guttural sounds imitating a chimpanzee against the Panamanian player Felipe Baloy of Monterrey as he scored a goal. During the game, Santos Laguna's fans had also chanted other racial slurs towards Baloy, including chango (monkey) and come platano (banana eater).[193] The disciplinary commission of the Mexican Football Federation sanctioned the Santos club to a sum equivalent of 5,600 days of league minimum wage for the racist insults.[194]

United States[edit]

During a 24 May 2008 Major League Soccer game between the Columbus Crew and the New England Revolution, Revolution forward Kheli Dube (originally from Zimbabwe) scored a goal against the Crew in the 89th minute of the game. An unidentified fan in the audience shouted out a racial slur. The incident was subsequently posted to the video sharing website YouTube, and MLS promised an investigation. In response to the epithet Revolution player Shalrie Joseph reportedly made an obscene gesture towards the offending fan. Assuming that MLS could have identified the fan, commisoner Don Garber promised to ban him.[195][196][197]

South America[edit]

Argentina[edit]

On 14 April 2005, the Quilmes player Leandro Desabato was arrested for racially abusing Grafite, a black Brazilian player.[198] He was held for 40 hours, and no charges were brought against the player after Grafite decided not to press charges.[199]

Brazil[edit]

Racism in Brazilian football was discussed by the media in the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, held in the country.[200]

In September 2014 Grêmio were banned from competing in the Copa do Brasil after some of their fans were seen racially abusing an opposition player.[201]

See also[edit]

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