Racism in football, at least in some parts of Europe is on the rise.
In England, incidents of racism continue to rise in both professional and grassroots football, constituting 65 per cent of reports – a 43 per cent rise from 2017/18. This is according to the reported cases compiled by Kick It Out.
Kick It Out is English football’s equality and inclusion organisation.
Discrimination in both professional and grassroots football rose significantly in the 2018/19 season with reports up by 32 per cent, their new figures show.
This includes discrimination based on faith, gender and sexual orientation.
The problem is not confined to England alone.
Romelu Lukaku, who is black, was targeted with monkey chants by Cagliari fans after the Belgium forward scored a penalty kick against the team.
What makes the incident more disgusting is to how the abuse is being justified.
Inter Milan chairman Steven Zhang says the principle of non-discrimination is “embedded in the DNA” of the club despite the incident.
A group of Inter fans even suggested such apparent abuse is not racist in Italy, and was a tactic they use to unsettle opposing players.
In France, homophobic abuse seems to be all the norm with their FA.
The president of the French Football Federation (FFF) Noël Le Graët has instructed referees to no longer stop matches over homophobic abuse from fans.
He is of the opinion that stopping matches for anti-gay chants and banners in the stands was wrong and should not be continued. Not the chants or abuse but the referee taking a stand against such abuse.
Racial abuse has now also taken a new medium, the social media.
When Manchester Uniteds duo of Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford missed penalties in successive matches, they found themselves being unsavory messages on Twitter., including one threatening to hang Pogba with a noose.
So much so that Twitter is now monitoring the accounts of approximately fifty high profile black players to weed out such racist taunts.. The monitoring system will in these cases remove racist posts, block the abusers’ accounts and report them to the police.
Kick it Out received 159 discrimination reports from social media in 2018/19. Again, the most common form of reported incidents was racism (62 per cent).
The increase in such abuses, reflects on the less than stellar efforts made by the footballing authorities to eradicate such instances.
In a recent interview to Sky Sports News, former Manchester City captain attributed some of the problem to the lack of diversity in football organisations.
He had pointed out that one of the institutions have representatives that could actually understand what Romelu was going through.
Citing the lack of diversity in the governing boards at UEFA, FIFA, the Italian League and the English League, he had claimed that the right decisions in terms of sanctions cannot be made.