Racism and racial discrimination or profiling is one social problem that has lived with us across various societies worldwide. There have been lots of studies and campaigns, yet it seems the more individuals try to condemn it, the more it is ingrained in the fabric of our society.
This particular scourge is something that is institutional according to former English football icon John Barnes. It is an issue that has been with us from the segregation of blacks in America to the apartheid era in South Africa.
Racism in football is a long element in history like how some sponsors allegedly withdrew their sponsorship of the Under 16 World cup as it was known then when Nigeria won the inaugural Tournament in 1985 at China.
Over the years many white supremacists who are uncomfortable with the fact that a black footballer can be successful at the elite level deride them with monkey chants and unnecessary boos. This has seen mixed reactions from players like when Samuel Eto’o nearly walked off the pitch than in the match between Barcelona and Real Zaragoza on June 27, 2006, before he was urged on by fellow teammate Ronaldinho, and his coach, Frank Rijkaard.
Others like Didier Drogba and Dani Alves have developed a thick skin to these useless emotional rants by simply ignoring and doing what they know how to do much to the chagrin of these abusers. Dani Alves in a match between Barcelona and Villarreal on 27 April 2014 had to pick up a Banana thrown at him and it was beautiful that after eating the banana he contributed two glorious assists which ensured Barcelona triumphed 4 goals to 2 after going down by 2 initially.
Didier Drogba while playing for Galatasaray in Turkey had to talk back at some fans as to how foolish they were paying their hard-earned money for tickets to watch monkeys whoop their teams.
The world governing the body of football, FIFA and her partner bodies, are all united in this “Fight against Racism” which keeps reoccurring every now and then from England to Italy, Russia, Bulgaria and beyond.
Little wonder UEFA boss Aleksander Čeferin is of the view that they as a body have given stiff hard knocks in a bid to stamp out or reduce racism in football but it seems that the punitive measures are not enough.
This explains why Bulgaria despite serving a punishment of having a section of their stadium empty still had the guts to engage in distasteful chants in their match against the 3 Lions of England which ended 6 goals to nothing.
Credits must go to some of their fans and captain of Bulgaria Ivelin Popov for how they conducted themselves despite the disgraceful conduct of others.