We had an example, just recently when Neymar (a player from the french club PSG) accused a player from OM (another french club) of racism last month. Gonzalo would have said that Neymar was a monkey. Insults to which Neymar answered by hitting Gonzalo.
Images are still in analysis, but firsts information from them reveals that Neymar had told homophobic insults to Gonzalo.
These kinds of defects in football are unfortunately not rare and not new either, but nowadays they take more place in medias and in public opinion. Probably because more and more videos are circulating and the video assistance can provide proofs for such acts.
A critical point was attained last year during a qualifying match for Euro 2020 between the United Kingdom and Bulgaria. An entire section of the crowd from bulgarian supporters, stood up to chant racists songs, make some monkey noises and even do nazi salutes against black players from the other team. Eventually, the game was stopped and the bulgar’s football federation’s president resigned from his position.
The referee and organizers knew things could escalate quickly but not to this point.
Fifa toughened sanctions against verbal abuses during football matches
Players who do such acts are now suspended for at least ten matches with penalties that can go over several thousands of euros. In December for example, a player from Bahreïn, Sayer Baqer got a fine of 27 500 euros and got suspended for ten matches because of “racists gests” and “discriminating behaviour”.
But for Fifa’s president Gianni Infantino, these sanctions are not enough. Last year, in a press conference in Dacca (Bangladesh) he said that he wished for mundial sanctions. He expects supporters who commit racists or homophobic acts to be automatically sued and to be forbidden to enter a stadium everywhere around the world.
Still, this decision is a first step to prevent more discriminations in football and promote inclusion and equality in sports. For everyone to enjoy matches, no matter the result, fair-play and respect are key points.
By Marianne Yotis, participant of PRAXIS, in the ESC- MEDIART project and as a member of this team, participates in the international FARE campaign “#football weeks”, in Serres- Greece. This article is published today in the frame of “Football against Racism”