As AC Milan become the latest victim of racism from the terraces, Channel 4 News Sports Reporter Jordan Jarrett-Bryan asks what can be done to punish those responsible.
In light of the latest episode in the battle to rid racism from football, AC Milan’s African, Kevin-Prince Boateng took the role as general, as he walked off the pitch and refused to continue playing in his side’s friendly match against Pro Pratia on Thursday. His teammates played the role of chiefs as many, who were also being racially abused, left the field too.
Many well-known footballers have thrown their support behind the Ghanaian, as has PFA Chairman Clarke Carlisle, who has commended Boateng for taking action into his own hands.
But while Carlisle doesn’t disagree with what the Milan midfielder did, he doesn’t want to see it get to that stage again. Personally, I’m all for it. Nobody deserves to be unjustifiably abused. Period.
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When your work happens to be in front of thousands of people and a section of that crowd are shouting the most hate-filled, personal, and offensive things at you, that’s more than anyone should have to accept. If officials, stewards and authorities won’t take action (and do what is basically their job), you are fully within your rights to deal with it yourself. If it means the game has to be called off, I don’t care.
That atmosphere isn’t one to work in or support your team in.
Now some will say, why should the 50,000 non-racist and respectful supporters have their game abandoned, for 10, 20, 50, 100 idiots? And legendary Dutch player Clarence Seedorf has condemned Boateng’s actions saying: “They should just be identified and kicked out of the stadium. Leave the 90 per cent that were enjoying the match and finish the game.”
Calls for harsher fines on federations and clubs, where racism on and off the pitch occurs, have been made over the last 18 months, but fines will do nothing. I’ll repeat, they’ll do nothing. They’ll be paid off without a thought and even then the fines are a joke. So how do we seriously get racism out of the game?
The answer is simple. Dock points from teams if it’s a league game, expel teams from the knockout competitions if it’s a cup game and for international teams ban them from world and European competitions.
That will have a huge impact on teams and will make a huge difference, because they’ll lose money and their reputation will be tarnished. But more importantly sponsors will start to take note and won’t want to touch a team that has a reputation for having a problem with racism.