Racism in Soccer Increasing

Authorities are being accused of not doing enough, but they are at wits end about the racist behaviour which appears to be entirely out of their control. Merely days after a match was halted twice in Bulgaria due to racist slants and monkey noises from the crowds aimed at players of the opposing English team, the team of Haringey Borough walked off the field. The team was up against Yeovil Town when the goalkeeper for Haringey, Valery Douglas Pajetat was spat at.

Recently a European 2020 qualifier game was paused twice due to the crowds mocking some of the players in the English team with racist chants, monkey noises and Nazi salutes in Bulgaria. The qualifier was between England and Bulgaria, and even though the UEFA guidelines weren’t followed thoroughly, twice announcements had to be made to ask the crowds to comply with this regulation.

Another instance of racism took place in the FA Cup tournament when the Haringey team decided to walk off the field in support of their goalkeeper, Valery Douglas Pajetat. An object has hit Pajetat flung towards him from the crowd, and someone also spat on him. The team that was leading at this stage with 1-0 was driven off the field by their manager Tom Loizou during the 64th minute of the game.

Racism Out of Control

According to Darren Lewis, a sports journalist, this action taken by Haringey is a new standard in this sporting arena. He stated that for a long time, players believed that they couldn’t do anything from their side to stop the racism and that they merely have to deal with it. Walking off the field in protest is a new development. It does seem though that the control of the crowds is mostly not possible.

This week Serbia’s team was punished by UEFA for the racist behaviour of their supporters. In September the team was up against Portugal when the Belgrade Stadion Rajko Mitic was the place where the Serbian fans were guilty of racism. Now the team has been punished with a $37 000 fine, and they are forced to display #EqualGame banners at the stadium. They are also forced to play their next two home games without a crowd. Whether this will be an effective solution is still to be determined, but it surely is indicative of the authorities grasping in the air to seem practical.

For Haringey and Yeovil, another outcome was decided upon. The game is rescheduled to take place during this week, and only better behaviour can be expected. This is not the first time that games have been brought to a sudden halt. During last season Wymeswold Reserves left the field due to abuse towards one of their players by Cosby United Development and Padiham FC also evacuated the area due to racist insults from the crowds during a match against Congleton Town.