Racism in Football

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Inter chairman Zhang defends fans amid racism debate

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GENEVA (AP) Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang says the principle of non-discrimination is “embedded in the DNA” of the club, after a widely criticized response from ultras fans to striker Romelu Lukaku being racially abused at a game.

Lukaku, who is black, was targeted with monkey chants by Cagliari fans this month after the Belgium forward scored a penalty kick.

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A group of Inter fans later suggested such apparent abuse is not racist in Italy, and was a tactic they also used to unsettle opposing players.

Inter’s Chinese chairman says the club’s inclusive history makes him believe that “a lot of fans, when they did it, the intention was not bad.”

Zhang says soccer is “not for violence, it’s not for racism” and can be a force to educate people around the world.

The 28-year-old official spoke with reporters at a European Club Association meeting after he was elected to the 246-member group’s executive board.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Kompany backs Lukaku, hits out at “lack of diversity” in board rooms

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Vincent Kompany is sticking up for his Belgian teammate after Romelu Lukaku was racially abused this weekend in Italy.

New Inter Milan striker Lukaku was subject to monkey chants, and he was understandably angered by them.

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The shocking answer from Inter fans was that (paraphrasing here) he shouldn’t consider the chants racist because they are just aimed to rile people up.

Kompany is now player-manager at Anderlecht, and the ex-Manchester City star says we shouldn’t expect major changes in how racism is eradicated from football until there are more people in positions of power who’ve had to deal with racism in their lives.

“You are dealing with a crowd of people and decision-makers who are telling him how he should think and feel about this when you have no decision-makers who are remotely in touch with what he has experienced in his life.

“That’s the real issue, if you go through the boards at UEFA or FIFA, the Italian League or the English League there is a real lack of diversity. If you don’t have diversity in places of power like boardrooms then you can’t have the right decisions in terms of sanctions – it’s a simple as that.”

There’s a lot to that. Sure, academically anyone can appreciate the painful effects of racism, but it’s impossible to truly grasp it without having a representative voice in places of power.

Kompany has long been one of the wiser voices in world football. Frankly, he seems like a future UEFA or FIFA board member.

Pogba posts emotional photo, message after racist abuse

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Paul Pogba is again speaking out against racism, again, after racists, again, took shots at him and his black Manchester United teammates.

United dominated Crystal Palace on Saturday but lost 2-1, with Marcus Rashford smashing the post with a penalty kick. Pogba missed a penalty kick in the draw against Wolves on Monday and gave away the ball in the run-up to Palace’s winner.

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Pogba took to Twitter on Sunday to display a photo with his infant child next to portraits of his father and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

“My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football. Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me strong and motivate me to fight for the next generation.”

This isn’t any type of brave take, but the sort of reprehensible voices that take to criticizing players by resorting to racial abuse are among the worst brand of cowards. Hot bet says the abuse wasn’t attached to someone’s actual identity or was attached to a burner account.

Be kind today.

Video shows Lazio fans’ racist chants aimed at Chelsea loanee Bakayoko

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ROME (AP) A video has emerged of Lazio fans directing a racist chant at AC Milan midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The video posted on the Gazzetta dello Sport website shows fans singing, “This banana is for Bakayoko,” during Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Udinese at the Stadio Olimpico.

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It was an apparent response to Bakayoko and Milan teammate Franck Kessie waving the shirt of Lazio defender Francesco Acerbi in front of their supporters like a trophy after a 1-0 win on Saturday.

Bakayoko, who is black, is on loan from Chelsea.

Lazio fans have a long history of racist and anti-Semitic episodes.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Arsenal, Aubameyang speak out on racism as Koulibaly video emerges

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Arsenal is condemning the culprits and investigating a video showing a fan shouting racist obscenities at star Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

“We utterly condemn use of this type of racist language,” Arsenal said in a statement. “We operate a zero-tolerance approach and anyone behaving like this is not welcome at Arsenal and will be banned from matches. We have an extremely diverse community of fans who are all part of the Arsenal family and such incidents are rare at the Emirates Stadium. We encourage supporters to report any incidents as they happen to stewards or via our matchday alert service.”

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The incident occurred in Arsenal’s 2-0 first leg defeat of Napoli in the Europa League quarterfinals on Thursday, and comes on the heels of incidents involving big name clubs and players around Europe.

And increased reports and videos from around the grounds of England will appear like an open wound but are actually a sign of progress that fans and onlookers are no longer standing idly by and instead have found an avenue to expose such vile behavior.

After the match Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang admitted that racism in England has reared its head against him prior to Thursday. From Arsenal.com:

“I am really disappointed about that. I had the same problem here against Tottenham. When you are black like me it is really painful, I think, because we are in 2019 and obviously it is not good for football in England. Hopefully we will find a way to kick it out.”