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Racist chants; when will it end?

Mar 15, 2013, 5:43 PM EDT

Genoa CFC v AC Milan - Serie A Getty Images

Yesterday at one of the most famed temples of the beautiful game, the San Siro echoed with the chants of ignorance.

Racism reared it’s ugly head as Inter Milan and Tottenham played out a thrilling match in the Europa League. With Spurs advancing on away goals rule, chants were directed at their black players, while an Inter fan was seen waving an inflatable banana during the game.

Unfortunately this is not the first time Inter have seen their image tarnished. Just recently they were fined 50,000 euros after their former player, Mario Balotelli was abused during the Milan derby while playing for AC. The Italian league released a statement saying the fine was for ‘screams and chants expressing racial discrimination.’

Inter were also fined for four banners expressing ‘insults towards the player and the opposition team’, while AC Milan were fined about £8,600 for three banners ‘insulting opposition fans and players.’

Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas confirmed that the club was aware of the chants during the game while former American number one, Brad Friedel who was in goal for the tie said the following to the Independent newspaper.

The Londoners had also experienced racial taunting when they visited Rome and SS Lazio during the group stages of the tournament.

While the problem is not exclusively an Italian issue, it appears that FIFA, UEFA and the respective leagues around Europe are still content to just give offending clubs a slap on the wrist.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who coaches a number of black players has called for far greater punishment to be handed down including the banning of clubs who fail to punish their fans.

This is an issue that refuses to go away and crosses numerous social issues. It’ll take a brave leader to step up and demand meaningful change.

  1. pmacd82 - Mar 15, 2013 at 6:05 PM

    Black players should bail on Europe, that’ll show the scum in the stands.

    • Nick Webster - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:31 PM

      pmacd82 – wouldn’t the scum then just find another target ?

  2. capsfan19 - Mar 15, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    As an american italian it pains me to hear about stuff like this!!
    How could they chant at balo like that? He even plays for the national squad… And what did those inter fans say when players like eto’o were on the team? So rediculous they dont know what they want.

  3. nygiantstones - Mar 15, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Europe is old world and it will never change. Just look at Bosnia/Serbia. That war ended 17 years ago and about 200,000 people died. They were massacring people based on religion or ethnicity. That’s right there in Europe. Read about the tensions in Marseille – a melting pot of cultures in France that will explode at any time. Europe is and always will be at a steady boil and they will always hate each other.
    As always in sports, money talks and BS walks. Ticket revenues, TV revenues, etc., will always trump the small sections of racist fans. Until the fines are in the millions of euros, not pittance 50K amounts, the clubs will never change. They need to be forced into playing in front of empty stands, banned from European competitions, and fined millions of euros before teams will start employing a no-tolerance policy.
    Until then, hopefully the amount of money black players get paid is enough to make up for the abuse they take. It’s revolting behavior.

  4. charliej11 - Mar 15, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Come to America, MLS will take any skin color or ethnicity and the fans will love them. Players on the other team, we will hate them for the team the play for, not their skin color.

    Tomorrow, I sit in my section of Blacks, Whites, Asians, Hispanics. The act of yelling something racist would probably get you beat up, even if it were against the other team….and by fans of many shades of skin color.

  5. paladinvt - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    It will end when everyone stops paying so much attention to it. Let’s face it, if you’re an adult and a professional athlete, what is being said in the stands should not affect you at all. That’s part of being professional. Let stupid people say what they’re going to say and ignore them. Don’t report it, don’t complain about it and don’t acknowledge it in any way. Then the cheap thrill they get from being in the news will go away and they will stop acting out. Giving them attention just feeds the beast and makes them want to continue. Stop rewarding it with notoriety and it will stop.

    • danielk1 - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:35 AM

      Yeah and ignoring it allows it to grow. Do you recall the civil rights movement of the 1960’s? It was those proud men and women who refused to continue not reporting the problem and sit in the front of the bus. How about the 6 million jews killed in Germany, or was World War Two just a farce? Rwanda in the 1990’s? We win by exposing the problem and showing that they are doing nobody any good, especially themselves. This is done by shutting the stadiums to the individuals who are doing the wrong deeds. If the culture as a whole does not police themselves, then they shut the entire culture out of the game.

      UEFA is not serious about ending racism. If they were, they would do more than put “respect” patches on players’ shirts and calling that an educational program. That is the same as City Council members in Birmingham saying they are not racist by day and wearing the Klan hood at night.

      • paladinvt - Mar 16, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        Your comparing neanderthals shooting off at the mouth to state-mandated segregation and state-sanctioned brutality, the Rwandan genocide and the Holocaust is manifestly absurd (if you can’t see the difference, then your lack of perspective is something no one can help you with). Morons yapping should be ignored, period.

      • danielk1 - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:27 AM

        Really? The Jewish fans who walked out after the first Arab soccer player on their team has nothing to do with what is going in Israel? Did the Greeks overreact then when they kicked out a player for giving a nazi salute recently. Or should we just pretend that did not ever happen either and hope that it goes away on its own?

        Morons yapping is one thing, and if it was every once in a while, then yes, that is not a big deal. But this has not been intermittent and rare; it is a constant ongoing thing. Every week there is a story about this, which leads me to believe that there are social norms at play here that allow for this type of behavior to continue. That is dangerous. Turning our backs on this racist activity will only allow these cancers to continue to grow. This needs to be addressed by more than a silly $50,000 penalty.

  6. jdubyacoys - Mar 15, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    It will end when UEFA gets serious about it. No ‘fan’ chanting this nonsense could care less if his team is fined 50k. Start banning teams from these competitions and, for repeat offenders, start imposing sanctions on the country’s FAs and then you’ll at least see these racists retreating to the comforts of their own home where they will still continue to spew their bile but at least it will be away from the stands.

  7. mclovinhockey - Mar 16, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    In the year 2013 we still have people who act like Neanderthals.

    Humans man, sometimes I just don’t wanna live on this planet anymore.

  8. mdac1012 - Mar 16, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    If UEFA doesn’t get a handle on it, you may see some big players go to MLS for no other reason than this type of behavior does not occur in U.S. sports. You may get one drunk idiot, but he would be quickly removed from the stadium, you never get entire sections chanting racist statements.

    As a paying fan I think you have a right to express yourself when it comes to performance on the field. Tell the guy he sucks, boo him etc….., certain things cross the line of decency however. Anyone who says you just ignore it though , is as much a part of the problem as the people chanting it.

    • charliej11 - Mar 17, 2013 at 1:54 PM

      Chances are no, you don’t get one drunk idiot even. Would love to know how many times that happened in the last 5 years ? Once, probably not.

      Ignore it….wow. It is up to their society and soccer population to solve. Ignoring and not caring is NOT working.

  9. manchestermiracle - Mar 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    While I agree these ignorant bastards are to be pilloried, please stop using the term Neanderthal to describe them. Neanderthals are descended from the same ancestor as Homo Sapiens and recent discoveries have shown them to be just as advanced as other hominids of their era. Now if you want to compare their extinction to a desire that these racist goons end up the same, go on ahead.

  10. jdvalk - Mar 17, 2013 at 4:22 AM

    As an unfrozen caveman lawyer, I thank you for defending the Neanderthal name.

    • mvktr2 - Mar 17, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      Well played unfrozen caveman lawyer!

      I may only be an unfrozen caveman lawyer … but I know racism is wrong.

      • sbenglish2013 - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:27 PM

        Doesn’t this modern Internet thing frighten and confuse you?

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