If you have been following this story through the media, you will know that Romelu Lukaku suffered racial abuse during a game against Cagliari a couple of weeks ago. Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants both before and after he took a penalty and was understandably visibly upset by the chants. He decided to turn his back on that section of the crowd, choosing to ignore the abuse. Romelu said in an interview, “I hope football federations all over the world react strongly to any form of discrimination!” clearly wanting to send a message to the Italian football federation that he wants something to be done.
This is not the first time these Cagliari fans have abused a player of color. Last season Moise Kean was racially abused by the same section of the stadium. Clearly there is a pattern emerging here and yet the Italian football federation has since said there is, “insufficient evidence”, in the racial abuse case. However, they have fined Cagliari for their fans throwing plastic cups onto the field. Cagliari was fined 5000 pounds for not being able to control their fans.
My first reaction was anger! Angry because I had seen a video on Twitter where you can clearly hear and see fans making monkey noises and imitations, so how on earth is there not enough evidence to either suspend the fans from the ground or give Cagliari a massive fine? I am saddened, disgusted and confused as to how players of color are treated throughout the world of football. The Italian football federation has set football back years now in the fight against racism in the sport. Now was the time for a statement to be made, for the powers that be to take a stance and support their players but sadly an opportunity has been missed and it leads me to question the morals of those in charge of Italian football which is extremely concerning .
Someone must surely be held accountable for this behavior and I think a higher power, the likes of FIFA and UEFA must get involved here and step in because clearly this behavior is accepted by the Italian football federation.
The way forward for players is to take a stance on this and come together. They need to do something different because clearly the federations that control the game are not doing enough. If I was a player or coach I would write a letter to whoever I needed to and say that I would not play for or against any team that racially abuses me or my players and if it happens during a match I would leave the field or take my players off the field. Its sad that such drastic measure must be considered but the only way to get through to the racist fans that their behavior is not going to be tolerated.
Its clear to me that football these days is all about money and I get that there is a lot of money in the sport, but my question is, at what cost? Is it worth your morals? Is it worth players retiring early in their careers because they just do not want to be abused any longer? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then I believe evil has won.
I believe that these racist fans are in the minority and so if you are reading this, I implore you to personally take a stance. Call out racists at stadiums, have them removed by security officials. Also, it’s up to you to educate the youth and let them know that this is unacceptable! The only way to eradicate racism is through education. The more young people we have that are educated about racism the less racist fans we will have in the future.