Imagine people making monkey chants towards you at your place of work. You report it to HR, who claim they have zero tolerance for any type of racism in the workplace, and you expect those indivduals to receive some type of punishment. HR then says they reviewed the allegations and conclude that there won’t be any sanctions for those involved and tell you to go back to work. This is what’s happening in world football and has been for awhile.
This week, French players Ousmane Dembele and Paul Pogba were the targets of racial abuse during a friendly match against Russia in Saint Petersburg. There were several reports of ape noises aimed at the players and now FIFA has launched an investigation.
Russia is no stranger when it comes to reports of racism from players within the Russian Premier League. Just last week disciplinary proceedings were opened by UEFA against Zenit for racist chants during a Europa League match against RB Leipzig. The country has been facing scrutiny as they prepare to host the 2018 World Cup and it doesn’t look like this will just go away.
Here’s the deal, FIFA has been struggling with racism for a long time. Ex-Fifa President Sepp Blatter established anti-racism task force in 2013 and it was headed by Jeffrey Webb, a vice president of the body until he was arrested in 2015. The marketing campaign, Say No To Racism, brings awareness to the issue but it just doesn’t work. They believed that they did such a great job at cleaning racism in the sport that they ended up disbanding the anti-racism task force despite ongoing concerns about discriminatory behavior in World Cup.
Researchers logged 92 incidents of discriminatory displays and chants by Russian fans in and around stadiums in the 2014–15 season, against a total of 83 for the previous two seasons combined. This shows a surge in the number of racist displays by Russian football fans, with most cases going unpunished. At some point FIFA will need to enforce harsher punishments to fans and clubs that will actually hold them accountable, that’s just a start. Yes, it’s a difficult thing to control but as large as FIFA is it shouldn’t be out of control.
What do you think FIFA can/should do about racism?
In the short term, I do believe City and Pep have been incredible this season and have a good chance to win this seasons Champions League, but there have been several clubs with better overall talent than the current Man City club and they found it difficult to win multiple CL’s, let alone maintain league dominance (looks at the Galacticos, as one example). With all the money flowing in world football today, especially in the Premier League, clubs chances of dominance can be short lived. Players and managers are constantly changing clubs and the stakes are high at all of the top clubs. There are just too many factors out there that can hurt a clubs chances of staying on top for years.