New Ideas For Racism In Soccer
Racism is arguably the most controversial and horrific element in all of soccer. While racism in soccer is was historically found in Eastern Europe, it has spread rapidly from England, to America, to Italy. We all know that racism is wrong and that action needs to be taken, but what action is the question. Should the ref stop the game? Should the players walk off? or should we resume the usual punishment of closed door games? It's time to find some effective solutions to stop racism, before it takes over the sport we all love.
Previous Attempts To Stop Racism
While racism was an issue in previous years, you cannot say that it was as large scale as it is today. Mainly, punishment for racism resulted in closed door games (no fans allowed) and/or fines. Croatia's FA was fined €25,000 for fan racism vs Ireland in the EURO 2012, while Bulgaria and Hungary will be playing behind closed doors in future times due to racism. Despite the efforts of the federations that rule soccer, these punishments hardly work. The fans who are being racist aren't the ones paying the fines, and teams usually don't suffer (except for financially) playing without a crowd. Other campaigns such as the "Kick It Out" T-Shirt campaign has been oddly bashed by players and fans alike. Rio Ferdinand refused to wear a "Kick It Out" shirt in warm-up, dispite the rest of the United squad wearing them. Rio's brother Anton was racially abused by Chelsea's John Terry, which makes the matter rather ironic.
New Solution #1: Abandon The Game
While this idea is not entirely new, it is growing rapidly in popularity. AC Milan's Kevin Prince-Boateng walked off of the pitch during a friendly vs fourth-tier team Pro Patria after being racially abused several times. The rest of Boateng's team followed him off the pitch, as did the referees, and the game was abandoned. While this walk-off certainly caused a lot of press, it resulted in mixed feelings. AC Milan's coach Massimiliano Allegri said "Walking off was the right choice when faced with something like this", however FIFA president Sepp Blatter said that “I don’t think [walking off] is the solution”. When you ground it down to the pulp, Boateng's method was both effective and sensible. The crowd was given multiple warnings to stop the racist chants before he walked off, so it was a sensible action, and it both ended the racism and put it to shame.
New Solution #2: Deduct Points
Unlike it's "sibling" punishment of fining teams money for racism by fans, this docks points from teams who have racist fans. While this may not be suitable for a first-time minor offense, it would work well for second, third-time and major racism. It directly effects the club's performance, and will make supporters have a secong thought about the effects of racism. Nobody wants to be the reason why they lost the chase for the title or got relegated, but with this system it would make the racist supporters feel the wrath of being "those fans" who "got us relegated" or "made us lose the title".