Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/696/13272
Showing racism the red card
Sepp Blatter, the reactionary, out of touch head of FIFA (world football's governing body), recently told a CNN interviewer that there is no racism in football. Two premiership footballers face racial abuse charges. But racism goes a lot deeper than the comments of Premier League players.
Such blatant racism as spectators chanting and throwing bananas on the pitch when black players were on the field has now largely gone. But racism certainly still exists in football.
Only seven British born Asian players currently play in the top four tiers of the English professional game. Black footballers make up about a quarter of all players in those top four flights but there are only two black league managers out of 92.
At grassroots level, Cardiff-based STM sports club say their players are subjected to regular racial slurs and taunts. STM player Marcus Phillips says: "We get it [racism] most games. I have witnessed my fellow black players being racially abused by fans shouting racial slurs and making monkey noises - it was disgraceful."
Fan-based anti-racist campaigns, particularly 'Show Racism the Red Card' initiated by Socialist Party members, have gone some way towards challenging racist ideas on the terraces.
However the battle is part of the fight in society as a whole. A capitalist class in crisis is hell-bent on introducing cuts and attacks on workers' living standards. They employ 'divide and rule' policies designed to appeal to popular prejudices, including racist ideas, to deflect anger away from themselves.
So, if you want to fight racism in football, support groups such as Show Racism the Red Card. You should also support class unity policies to defeat the crazy and divisive cuts schemes of the ruling class - and its defenders such as Sepp Blatter!
In The Socialist 30 November 2011:
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