Tag Archives: racism

England win but football loses

Its not often you come away from a tough away game with a 6-0 win and feel sad and disillusioned with the game. But for many last night, the sad scenes in the stands in Sofia overshadowed what was a very good England performance and threw the game into disrepute. 

There had been much speculation about the behaviour of the Bulgarian fans, after a number of incidents in recent years highlighted the large racist undertone within their fan base, and England captain Harry Kane had spoke of leading his teammates off the field if there was any sniff of racially motivated chanting or jeers.

From the get go England’s black stars were booed every time they touched the ball, attackers Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford as well as debutant centre back Tyrone Mings. But it wasn’t until the 28th minute play was put on hold with discussions taking place on the sideline, and a stadium announcement being made over the speakers warning fans the game would be stopped if this behaviour carried on.

However, this did not stop the chants, the boo’s and the abhorrent monkey noises being made, and the game was then stopped again in the 43rd minute, this time with Southgate talking with the referee before the game was again restarted.

Further racist incidents continued into the second half, caught on pitch-side microphones, but play was not stopped for a third time, which would have been crucial as UEFA’s three step racism protocol states if a match is stopped for a third time the match must be abandoned.

Further footage shows fans doing Nazi salutes and one fan holding up a “no respect” jumper. Debate has been rife over the best course of action in a situation such as this, is it best to walk from the pitch refusing to stand for this kind of abuse? Or is it best to play on and not let the racists win? England chose the latter last night, and with Rashford and Sterling both scoring, as well as Ross Barkley who’s grandfather is Nigerian, well and truly silenced the racist scum in the stands.

If this was not bad enough, Bulgaria’s own manager Krasimir Balakov seemingly defended his fans post match, claiming he did not hear any racist chants towards the England players and actually blamed the England fans for unacceptable behaviour. When the man at the top is seemingly just as bad as the racists in the stands, it is concerning for all involved and something UEFA must take a serious look at.

With all of the focus being firmly set on what happened off the pitch, it is important to remember just what the England players achieved in representing their country in such difficult circumstances, standing up to racism and doing our country proud in the process.

Has Bernardo Silva’s critism been unfair?

Bernardo Silva in recent weeks has faced criticism for a twitter post, in which he compared long standing team mate Benjamin Mendy to a child in a French children’s cartoon. The post was quickly deleted but did not escape the mainstream media’s attention, and instantly labelled him as racist.

All bodies involved disregarded any prior knowledge that the two have been teammates for the past four years at Monaco. Manchester City and Pep Gaurdiola saying the two ‘are like brothers,’ and regularly exchanged jokes about one another.

KickItOut condemned the tweet and exclaimed that they were ‘extremely disappointed’ with Bernardo’s behaviour, furthermore the FA opened an investigation into the tweet. In response, Silva and Mendy both wrote open letters to The FA, with Bernardo apologising if he caused offence, and Mendy saying no offence was taken from Benrardo’s tweet and that it was a ‘friendly joke’.

The lack of context shown with Bernardo’s case is definitely worrying. The two are very close friends and have been for a number of years, constantly seen to be having banter on their respective social media accounts, and on the Netflix All of Nothing series. Without context this case, which is how a number of media outlets reported, it could possibly be seen as offensive. However, John Barnes, former Liverpool and England striker, was also to Bernardo’s defence with the accusations of racism as “ridiculous,” and called for context while also saying that KickItOut and The FA having bigger racial problems that they should be focusing on.

Do you think Bernardo should be punished by The FA? Or should they focus on more serious problem involving racism?

England’s Shine Dulled by Racism

On Monday night, Southgate and the Three Lions travelled to the South European country of Montenegro for a European Cup qualifying game. The odds were greatly stacked in England’s favour, especially following their 5-0 triumph over the Czech Republic just three days before; where Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling netted a hattrick.

England conceded early in the game, with Marko Vesovic neatly putting the home side in front. However, an instant reaction from Keane and Barkley saw Southgate’s boys quickly turn around the deficit, and England proceeded to lead the way into half time with a one goal advantage.

The second half continued to flow England’s way. Barkley grabbed his second of the night, and the World Cup Golden Boot winner, Harry Kane, made it 4-1, making the win certainly head England’s way. Raheem Sterling came up late to score his fourth in half as many games, and the World Cup semi finalists listened to the final whistle whilst sitting comfortably ahead at 5-1.

Despite the comeback win, and England asserting their dominance over their respective group; the shine of the game was dulled by apparent racist abuse from the Montenegro Fans directed at England’s big names. Sterling, Hudson-Odoi and Tottenham’s Danny Rose exclaimed after the game that the fans were making ‘monkey noises’ directed at themselves when they were on the ball.

The apparent abuse comes just days after Hudson-Odoi appeared to be racially abused by Dynamo Kiev fans during Chelsea’s Europa League demolition of the Ukrainian side. It also comes several months after Sterling was racially abused at Stamford Bridge by several Chelsea supporters. In Sterling’s post-match interview on Monday night, he criticised the current sanctions facing racism, “its now time for the people that are in charge to put a real stamp on it [racism] because you can fine someone, but what is that going to do?” Manchester City’s star winger went on to say “a couple of idiots ruined a great night and it’s a real sad thing to hear. It’s a really sad situation we are talking about after a great win.”

Southgate also responded to the abuse his players faced in Montenegro. “The difference for me is educating people. I find that difficult, because I don’t find anybody is different to everyone else, Kids are born into the world without a bone of malice in their body, so it is what we impose on them as adults.” “We can criticise authorities for sanctions, but the problem is deeper.”

UEFA have responded by launching investigations into Montenegro, for racist behaviour and crowd disturbances. Their disciplinary board will hear the case on May 16th.