Manchester City Discover That Russian Football Racism Is Just Not Racist Enough For Uefa
IT turns out that if you want to experience actual racism in football you need not look for it in the dust of Spurs’ Yids and Roy Hodgson’s monkey, but in Russia. At last night’s Champions’ League match against CSKA (now pronounced Siska, in the manner of the That’s Life dog saying ‘sausages’), Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was verbally attacked. The Ivory Coast international – a pretty fluent Russian speaker – says:
“I’m not just disappointed, I’m furious….I think Uefa has to take action because players with the same colour of skin will always be in the same position. For me, as captain, I was wearing an armband which said ‘no to racism’ and I was totally disappointed. I told the referee. It was unbelievable and very sad.”
It turns out that pillocks pay little heed to what Toure commands by way of his official armband. It might even turn out that armbands and T-shirts serve no purpose other than to make the FA and English clubs look on message. As Anorak’s Ed Barrett writes in Private Eye magazine:
“The FA may be rubbish at football. but they deserve credit for their excellent education packs on sexism, racism and homophobia”
Toure has an idea what Uefa should do:
“Maybe they could ban the stadium, I don’t know, for a couple of years or a couple of months. We have to be as strong as possible otherwise they will continue like that. Too much is too much. We have to stop it now.”
Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce told BBC Radio 5 live:
“It’s got to be eradicated and the only way to do that is to take serious action against the people who do it. Don’t allow them to watch football matches and then perhaps they’ll stop when they realise they won’t get into a ground.”
This seems to equate racist abuse with football violence, issuing banning orders for bigots.
But was how bad was the racism? Says Toure:
“Some songs from the crowd were quite stupid, but I think Uefa has to do work for that because every time we say something, they continue.”
Maybe monkey chants aren’t racist enough for Uefa? Maybe the bigots need to up their game. Maybe they can burn a cross, make black fans sit at the back or do something else that Uefa will recognise as racist?
Maybe Uefa thinks it’s easy to cause offence to ethnic minorities without meaning to? Might it be that Russians think black people are monkeys and are trying to reach out to them, to welcome the apes in their own language of grunts and gurns, Uefa wonders? Much to debate at headquarters.
Tony Evans writes in the Times:
Uefa is good at superficial gestures. The players passed around a pennant with an inclusive message. It provided a touchy-feely image for the cameras, but it wasn’t action. Banners hung around stadiums give the illusion that European football’s ruling body is at the forefront of the struggle against prejudice. It is not. Last night showed action week for the joke it is. The Uefa Congress adopted an 11-point anti-racism resolution in May and has made smug videos to illustrate how hard it is working, but no one fears Uefa sanctions because time and time again racist incidents have been ignored and downplayed.
Mark Ogden notes in the Telegraph:
With Russia due to host the 2018 World Cup, Touré’s claims are likely to prompt concern within Fifa over the progress being made against racism in a country that has been at the centre of previous outbreaks of abuse towards black and African footballers.
There is unanimous agreement that racist language is forbidden. But what to do about it? Stuart Waiton writes in Snob’s Law: Criminalising Football Fans in an Age of Intolerance:
‘This modern official anti-racism is very different to anti-racism in the Eighties. Now it is less about challenging the racism of the authorities than about giving more power to the authorities to police our words and thoughts. I think racism has been redefined and now simply appears to be about name-calling. At the same time, black people are also being redefined as particularly vulnerable – or as people who are more easily offended and need to be protected from nasty words – which I think is patronising and simply a different type of caricature.”
How can the racists be dealt with? He voices a note of hope:
“We are not sheep or animals. We do not simply mimic other people.”
These idiots make Russia look backward and dumb. A -T-Shirt and armband won’t eradicate racism. But black players playing the game well, making the idiots explain themselves and mocking them below a bright light might could.