Racism in Football

Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Balotelli leaves pitch after racial abuse, later scores at same end

Leave a comment

Don’t let the fact that Mario Balotelli scored a beautiful goal in front of the fans who racially abused him distract from another ugly incident in Serie A.

Balotelli left the pitch after hearing racial abuse from Hellas Verona fans in a 2-1 loss on Sunday. According to Football-Italia, this is not the first time the Hellas Verona fans have been a part of such an incident.

[ MORE: Another big day for Pulisic ]

The Brescia man was victimized at the Stadio Bentegodi, and kicked the ball into the stands before eventually returning to the match after his teammates intervened.

During this spell, the match was halted and an announcement was made inside the stadium as a warning to fans according to UEFA’s protocol for racial abuse.

Balotelli scored a magnificent goal after returning to the pitch, but it feels too casual to note it as a just dessert or last laugh; It’s embarrassing that the pervasive cries for better treatment of minorities hasn’t been heard by all; It’s one thing for bad seeds to continue their abuse of players, another for a lack of universal support from his peers on the pitch (though certainly some did).

Europa League preview: Man Utd, Wolves travel to stadium burdened by racial abuse

Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United hopes to build off Monday momentum when it visits Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, though the hosts have some off-field aims following a pair of closed-door matches due to racist behavior.

Partizan boss Savo Milosevic, a former Aston Villa striker, has vowed that the match will be void of racism and a “celebration of football.”

United players Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford were part of an ugly atmosphere in Bulgaria while on England duty — something Maguire called “sickening” — but believe things will be better in Belgrade.

[ MORE: Genk 1-4 Liverpool | Ajax 0-1 Chelsea ]

Maguire is set for a new experience in the tie should he start, sort of. Maguire played a UEL qualifying round match with Hull City in 2014, but this is his first start in a European tournament proper. From ManUtd.com:

“Playing in Europe is another challenge,” he said. “It’s something I’m looking forward to, something I’m relishing. I want to play in the biggest games with the biggest pressure and that’s why I signed for a club like Man United, one of the biggest in the world. I’m looking forward to challenging myself under the lights in European football.”

United kicks off at 12:55 p.m. ET as one of two early starts for Premier League teams.

Wolves begin back-to-back matches against Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia, another situation where the hosts are dealing with recent racial problems.

Thursday’s match was supposed to be behind closed doors, but UEFA have allowed ticket giveaways to youth players and school kids. Wolves aren’t exactly impressed at the lessened punishment.

Here’s Matt Doherty, who says his Wolves will gladly leave the pitch if there’s a problem of any kind. From The Birmingham Mail:

“If it comes to it when players feel uncomfortable then I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Doherty adds. “I would hate to be in a position where you have to choose. I would hate that, so hopefully it doesn’t happen. I would be more in the mind of trying to beat them on the pitch.”

Wolves have a win and a loss, leaving them a point behind their Thursday opponents and Braga.

The lone PL club kicking off at 3 p.m. is Arsenal, the Gunners having played very well in the Europa League but fairly substandard in the league.

Arsenal is one of five 2-0 teams in the UEL, and can essentially cement their place in the next round by dealing with Vitoria at the Emirates Stadium.

Europa League full slate

12:55 pm. ET
Besiktas v. Braga
Roma v. Borussia Monchengladbach
CSKA Moscow v. Ferencvaros
Partizan Belgrade v. Manchester United
Qarabag v. APOEL Nicosia
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Espanyol
Slovan Bratislava v. Wolves
Porto v. Rangers
Saint-Etienne v. Oleksandriya
Gent v. Wolfsburg
Istanbul Basaksehir v. Wolfsberg
Young Boys v. Feyenoord
AZ Alkmaar v. Astana

3 p.m. ET
Celtic v. Lazio
Sevilla v. Dudelange
Arsenal v. Vitoria
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Standard Liege
Rennes v. CFR Cluj
Sporting Lisbon v. Rosenborg
Getafe v. Basel
Dynamo Kyiv v. Copenhagen
Malmo v. Lugano
PSV Eindhoven v. LASK
Trabzonspor v. Krasnodar

Liverpool, Genk condemn Origi banner as ‘racist stereotype’

Photo by Tomas Sisk / Photo News via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool has issued a strong statement condemning a racist banner hung by Genk fans prior to the Reds’ UEFA Champions League match in Belgium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Pulisic assists Chelsea winner ]

The banner showed the Photoshopped head of former Genk academy and current Liverpool striker Divock Origi on a naked body next to the Champions League trophy.

Our partners at Sky Sports say that Genk as a club has condemned the banner as “highly offensive” and vows to bring the offending parties to justice.

“Liverpool Football Club condemns the offensive banner displayed in our section of the ground, prior to kick off. To be clear, the image used perpetuated a racist stereotype. This is completely unacceptable.

“We acted swiftly to have the banner removed and we are now working with the local authorities and stadium team in Genk to identify those responsible. Any subsequent action will be taken in keeping with our sanctions process.”

The 24-year-old Origi left Genk’s academy for Lille’s academy in 2010.

England may leave pitch if racial abuse too much in EURO qualifying

Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images
2 Comments

The England national team could take matters into its own hands if one of its players is racially abused in upcoming EURO qualifiers in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

UEFA’s new protocol starts with a PA warning, then takes the teams from the field and has another PA announcement with a second offense before a referee is given the power to abandon the match.

[ MORE: USMNT players in focus ]

Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham says that England could walk off the pitch the first time.

From Sky Sports:

“We did speak about that. Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps, if we decide that we want to stop the game and we want to stop the game, no matter what the score is, if we’re not happy with it, as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.”

It would be a powerful statement if England left the field due to racial abuse of its players. The Three Lions have started qualifying with four-straight wins, and have a comfortable lead on the field with a match-in-hand.

Inter chairman Zhang defends fans amid racism debate

Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

[ MORE: Almiron ends drought ]

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