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Racism against Salah highlights ugly side of football

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Racism has been rampant in Football over generations but recently high profile players have been affected prompting for action from football governing bodies. Football is the most followed sport in the World and such cases should be dealt with so as to also curb the vice in other sports.

In the Monday English Premier League match between West Ham and Liverpool, a video showcases Liverpool’s Egyptian forward, Mohamed Salah, being insulted because of his skin colour by West Ham fans. The racial slurs were directed to the 26-year-old as he was taking a corner. The fan who recorded the video took to twitter to raise an alarm about the incident.

“I went to watch West Ham vs Liverpool and I was disgusted by what I was hearing. People like this deserve no place in our society let alone football matches,” Sádat Yazdani, the fan who recorded the video, tweeted on Tuesday.

West ham have responded to these claims saying they will investigate the case and punish the fan that was recorded in the video insulting the Egyptian international. In a statement, a West ham spokesman told Reuters that the club is hospitable and such cases are not condoned.

“We are an inclusive football club. Regardless of age, race, religion or belief, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment or disability, everyone is warmly welcomed at London Stadium,” he said, “Anyone identified committing an offence will have their details passed to the police and will face a lifetime ban from London Stadium. There is no place for this kind of behaviour at our stadium.”

Last year when Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling spoke out about being racially abused by a section of Chelsea fans during their Premier League match at Stamford Bridge, football legend Rio Ferdinand questioned if the football governing bodies are doing enough to curb racism. It has been less than two months after the case and we have already witnessed a number of racism complains from players.

“For years it’s been clear that Fifa and Uefa have shied away from doing what they needed to do. They have let football down, time and time again,” Ferdinand told the BBC. Chelsea FC banned five fans from attending any of their matches because of the incident.

Whenever a player alleges being a victim of racial remarks, everyone seems to react to it with social media attacks and apologies on behalf of the perpetrator but we will hear of another case before we forget about the previous one. New mechanisms should be devised by football governing organisations if we are to end racism in football completely.

In another case from December last year, Napoli’s senegalise defender Kalidou Koulibaly was racially abused in chants by Inter Milan during their fixture. Koulibaly didn’t take the insults too well that it even affected his game contributing to a red card he received in the match. Football fans and players consoled the Senegalise International through social media including the most recently affected Salah.

It has become a tradition to tweet about ending racism in football everytime a footballer is racially profiled but less or no action taken against the perpetrators. It is about time that football governing bodies take action on the racial fans and not just leave it for social media.

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].
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