Enough is enough
On Sunday the 11th of July millions of people came together to watch a moment in history. Marking its place as England’s first final match since winning the World Cup in 1966, thousands of fans flooded into Wembley Stadium all to cheer on one team.
Everywhere in England, the atmosphere was electric. It was clear as day that everyone felt immense pride. Not only in their country but for the eleven players of the squad (and Southgate) who played hard and demonstrated huge resilience throughout the tournament.
After a time of darkness, loss and suffering caused by the pandemic, to see an entire nation join together for such a rare occasion was somewhat of a ‘goosebump’ moment. Up until this point, none of those players could do any wrong. In the nation’s eyes, they were kings.
When Shaw scored after just 1 minute 57 seconds, hope was in the air and an unwavering sense of belief was infused in every single player. But after an Italian equalizer and a taxing 120 minutes, it went to penalties. When three young men, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, bravely stepped forward, despite the weight and hopes of the nation already on their shoulders, little did they know they were swimming into a wave of abuse and racism that would soon hit after they missed.
Rashford, who raised hundreds and millions for child hunger, went from being a national hero to having his mural vandalized with hatred. Sancho and Saka, two outstanding players and kind-hearted men, became subject to a surge of racial abuse on social media.
If they weren’t feeling defeated already, to have their loss blamed on who they are and where they come from is sickening. Rashford, who is only 19, has often spoken on Twitter about the abuse he gets. “I’m built for criticism of my performance, but I can’t accept the ape, monkey, baboon, banana, jungle talk”
Whether or not they missed or scored, the fact that they chose to represent their country when it mattered most, is a victory in itself. They injected the nation with hope and memories that will last a lifetime.
If anyone has let anyone down, it is the fans who have targeted these talented and admiring individuals. Rashford, Sancho, and Saka embody the three lions that thousands have oh so proudly worn on their chest. So, to anyone who has taken part in this vile hatred, is not a fan at all.
Despite many taking to social media to stand by their teammates, with Harry Kane posting to Instagram “If you’re abusing anyone on social media, you’re not an England fan and we don’t want you” and Phil Foden saying, “We can’t and won’t let hate win” the fact that a day of togetherness and love for the sport, also known as the ‘beautiful game’, still resulted in racism is evidence in itself that not enough is being done…
Words By Clare Stephenson
Racism springs from ignorance. -Mario Balotelli.
Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and the most popular in Europe. Originated in England, the UEFA is considered the “home” of football.
Although great names in different sports, such as Pelé, Michael Jordan, Usain Bolt, are black, racism resists for decades! Racism in sport is structural—simply defining, it is based on a structure where some races are privileged to the detriment of others. In football, this is a scenery more common than we can ever think about. Racism in football has been happening for decades. The difference now is that with the internet everything, or almost, goes public. In 2019 and 2020 reports of racism increased by 43% and 50%, respectively, only in English football. It’s clear how we can find racial abuse in every sphere of our society. Some cases in football went really public, but it’s important to remember that out of these cases there’s so much more going on and measures must be taken.
Taking actions against racism will for sure score the most beautiful goal in football history.Victoria Antonieta
In 2011 during a match between Manchester United and Liverpool, Luis Suarez who plays for Manchester called Patrice Evra a negro. He tried to get away with it saying it was done in a friendly manner, but the justice didn’t buy it and Suarez was fined £40.000. In 2013 a Villareal fan threw a banana on Daniel Alves, in a match Villarreal vs. Barcelona. Against the racist action, Dani Alves had a priceless comeback and ate the banana. Villareal was fined €12,000 euros and the fa 20,000 R$. In 2015 Hulk, a Brazilian who played in Russia at Zenit St Petersburg, said that he was the victim of racism in every single game, but it didn’t go out of Russia, it happened at the local games and stayed, usually, with no punishment.
This year two football clubs from Moscow were punished after fans abused Hulk with monkey chants. The player, ax this declaration right before the World Cup in Russia saying that it would be a shame if the same happened. In 2018, Mesut Ötzil, who was one of the players during the World Cup in Russia, walked away from the German team, claiming racism. Otzil has Turkish roots but grew up in Germany. At the time, after many attacks and consideration he stood up for what is right and left the German team: “I am German when we win, but I’m an immigrant when we lose.”
III / III pic.twitter.com/c8aTzYOhWU— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) July 22, 2018
These are just a few cases that were reported where most of the athletes don’t like to talk about the case and don’t even take it to justice. It’s important to remember that these attacks have consequences on their mental health! Many athletes struggle with depression and episodes of racism are a trigger for them, a shot—many times—on their confidence. No actions justify racism, measures MUST be taken because there are uncountable cases that didn’t have a proper end—with justice.
There are uncountable cases that didn’t have a proper end—with justice.
On the fourth article of the FIFA statutes: “Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or group of people on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, wealth, birth or any other status, sexual orientation or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.” Well, it’s time to put this article into practice.
So many races and nationalities play football, this is supposed to be the place that spreads equality and respect. As said by Balotelli: “You can’t delete racism. It’s like a cigarette. You can’t stop smoking if you don’t want to, and you can’t stop racism if people don’t want to. But I’ll do everything I can to help”. So, let’s take this as inspiration and do everything that we can to change this scenery. It’s a necessary transformation, racism won’t end overnight but to achieve change, the government has to take action, but not only them. The change doesn’t come only from the top but also from social media, players, coaches and fans, the protests and taking actions against racism will for sure score the most beautiful goal in football history.
Words by: Victoria Antonieta