Football - a game where colour should not be an issue
By Danny Caro
November 17, 2011
The campaign to kick Racism out of football in England has been one of the success stories of the modern game.
As per the battle against Antisemitism, Islamophobia and Homophobia, it remains an ongoing project, and one that is rarely out of the headlines.
On the day that Luis Suarez was charged with racially abusing Patrice Evra, the words of FIFA president Sepp Blatter on the topic left the football world open-mouthed. They displayed a lack of understanding of FIFA’s own rules of the game.
While we have been trying to kick it out, he has brushed it under the carpet.
There followed a fierce reaction from players, officials and media, dare I say predominantly in this country, forcing Blatter into a hasty retreat, and something of a grovelling clarification after he said: "there is no racism on the pitch".
It was the behaviour of a man that is out of touch and out of mind. It appears he is well past his sell-by date in terms of representing world football.
Some will say he has worked wonders for African nations and third world countries but his comments are ill-advised to say the least.
Whilst the game has moved on, Mr Blatter has been well off the pace for some time. In his eyes, racism can be "settled with a handshake at the end of a game". His words left Rio Ferdinand "astonished".
Former players including Paul Elliott, Brendan Batson and John Barnes have campaigned long and hard to help get the unacceptable face of football out of the game.
Many people, including a significant number in this country, have worked above and beyond the call of duty to help identify the problem and root out the evil. A lot of time, money and effort has been put in to addressing the problem with several high-profile players, past and present, flexing their muscles to ensure it stays in the public eye.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. There is no place for the N-word, the Y-word, the P-word or the G-word in football, let alone society.
It appears that the message has not reached Mr Blatter though, and there is still plenty of work to be done.
Someone needs to remind Mr Blatter that football is a global game, a global brand. Man against man. Colour should not be an issue, but clearly it still is.