17 October, 2013


What are we to do about racism in football? It is almost a standard question for one of those TV or radio shows where famous people are asked questions by a hand-picked freethinking audience.

You always get the same sort of answer: the VIP loathes racism, there is no place for it in our modern way of life, da-di-da. This is intended more to boost the credentials of the respondent than inform us.

We need to have a good look at this because the nonsense is reaching crescendo level.

Is it difficult for a black man to get a job playing football? No, there are lots of them.

Are they paid less than their white counterparts? No.

Do they, as used to happen in Apartheid South Africa, have to use a different changing room to the whites? No

It is in the crowds that the racism is spotted - people making monkey noises and so on. It is in us, the people, not 'Football'.

And 'Racist' isn't the only '-ist' levelled as an accusation by the New Inquisition. There is a 'clubbist' or regionalist discrimination whereby, horror!, the fans of one team shout insults at the fans of another.

And, strangely enough, the world of football has been surprised to see the fans themselves resenting this interference. In England, fans of Tottenham Hotspur, traditionally called 'Yids' because of the high Jewish element in the area, don't resent it but carry banners calling themselves Yiddos or the Yid Army. In Naples, Italy, where there were cholera outbreaks at the beginning of the twentieth century and this is recalled by the chants of Rome and Milan fans, they now have banners saying 'we are the cholera sufferers'. Morbid, but the point is they don't want to be told what to sing or shout by the do-gooders.

Long may it continue.

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