Racial abuse in the world of football has recently dominated headlines. The first notable occurrence of the year took place during the Euro 2020 qualifier between Montenegro and England. Members of England's squad were subjected to racist taunts by the opposition's fans. UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin commented after the match, prompting referees to respond to racism with bravery and had labelled such abusers as “aggressive and primitive”.
Despite public objections to such behaviour by UEFA, FIFA, domestic clubs and players alike, reports of racism continued to surface in various leagues and competitions. Such incidents have even been reported occurring during lower league matches in England. It was alleged that during the Vase final between FC Wymeswold and Cosby United, that racist remarks had been launched at members of Wymeswold, causing the team to walk off the pitch. Racism even made the headlines in Serie A, where Juventus players were subjected to abuse by Cagliari fans during their away clash at the Sardegna Arena.
Domestic clubs have attempted to clamp down on offenders. Chelsea FC have served a match ban to three of their supporters who were allegedly found singing racist slurs, in an online video, that was directed at Liverpool's centre-forward Mohamed Salah. Footballers and coaches have called for harsher penalties to be imposed on offenders in hopes that the incidences would subside.
West Ham United have recently stated that they would impose a life-time ban on those found guilty of antisemitic behaviour. This came about after a clip was posted online showing Hammer's fans chanting antisemitic insults aimed at London rivals Tottenham. The club quickly took action, expressing their disdain stating:
"We do not want people like this associated with West Ham United. They are not welcome at our club, they are not welcome in civilised society."
Arsenal have also joined like the likes of West Ham, warning that they would also impose life bans. This was in response to a Gunners' supporter allegedly found calling Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly, the N-word in a Snapchat snippet.
FIFA's president Gianni Infantino has commented on this resurgence of racism and outlined procedure that ought to be followed when such episodes occur:
"We introduced the so-called 'three-step procedure' at our tournaments: a mechanism that allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents."
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, who has been subjected to racial abuse in recent months, has openly objected to the idea of interrupting play in a such manner. The City forward believes that this will in fact "let the racists win".
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