Soccer and its long history with racism 

Photo by: Brenden Cowan

*CONTENT WARNING: This article contains content on racism and may be harmful to some readers*

Soccer, or football as it’s known in many parts of the world, is often referred to as a beautiful game. It’s a sport that transcends borders, cultures and religions, and is played and watched by millions of people worldwide. However, despite its global popularity, soccer has a dark history of racism that continues to plague the sport today. 

Racism in soccer has been a persistent problem for many years, with incidents dating back to the 19th century. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the issue gained more attention, with players (such as Paul Parker) experiencing racial abuse on the pitch, becoming high-profile stories. These incidents were not acknowledged until the early 2000s when FA apologized for the long history of racism in the game.

But despite these efforts, racism in soccer persisted with one player being at the brunt of it all for the past few years. Ramalu Lukaku is a Black Belgian Striker who has been subject to racial abuse over the last number of years. Since 2019, Lukaku has been subject to three incidents that have been made public, one happening just over a week ago while playing in a Coppa Italia match

Lukaku had monkey noises chanted at him while he was taking a penalty shot in the 95th minute against Juventus. After scoring, he proceeded to celebrate the goal and taunt the Juventus fans, which ended in him being sent off after gaining a second yellow card for his celebration. 

Everyone is still confused as to why the referee handed him a second yellow card for his celebration, but after the game, Juventus football put out a statement condemning the acts of their fans and said that they would “collaborate with the police to identify those responsible for the racist gestures and chants which took place.”

But the Lukaku incident is just an example of the ongoing problem of racism in soccer. In recent years, there have been numerous players such as Kylian Mbappe, Kingsley Coman, Bukaya Sake and Marcus Rashford, who have also been targeted due to poor performances in some matches. This has led to both players and fans calling for more severe sanctions against individuals who act in a racist manner

These calls to action have been met by organizations such as UEFA, who in 2021 launched its #EqualGame campaign, which aims to promote diversity, inclusion and equality in soccer. 

The Scottish Premier League have also added stronger sanctions for racism. Players who participate in racist behaviour are given a 10-match suspension. Also, the league has set up an online mechanism for supporters to report instances of racism. 

While these measures are a step in the right direction, many soccer fans believe that more needs to be done to combat racism. Some have argued that there should be no tolerance for racism, and others have argued that clubs and fans should be held accountable for the activities of their followers. 

That being said, racism in football is a significant issue that has long been affiliated with the sport, despite efforts to address the problem. Leagues and governing bodies in football need to keep working to make sure that everyone is accepted in the sport, regardless of race or ethnicity. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *