'Racism has no place in football', were the words of then-Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Redknapp’s comments came in the wake of the racist abuse suffered by Blackpool’s Jason Euell during Blackpool’s League Cup game against Stoke City. Redknapp then went on to say that fans who racially abuse players should face imprisonment. This particular incident occurred in 2009.
In 2011, another incident of racism rocked England when Manchester United’s Patrice Evra allegedly suffered racist abuse from Liverpool’s Luis Suarez. Three years later, Mario Balotelli was the subject of racial abuse on social media, after poking fun at Manchester United’s 5-3 defeat to Leicester City. And these are just cases from England. Kevin Prince-Boateng and Sulley Muntari walked off in two separate matches in Italy, after suffering racial abuse. Bananas were thrown at AC Milan’s Kevin Constant and Nigel de Jong during Milan’s 2-1 defeat to Atlanta in 2014. The rot goes deeper and deeper when it comes to racism in world football. Here are five games to have been marred by racism in recent times.
Antonio Conte’s Inter Milan were all set to register a victory against Cagliari at the Stadio Sardegna when they were awarded a penalty. Conte’s club-record signing Romelu Lukaku stepped up to take the penalty when Cagliari fans started directing monkey chants at the Belgian. Lukaku duly dispatched the penalty to put Inter Milan 2-1 up. He then went on to condemn the racism on social media, stating that the game was heading backwards due to racism.
Chelsea played hosts to Pep Guardiola’s Man City at Stamford Bridge in December 2018. During the game, a male spectator appeared to racially abuse Raheem Sterling. After a thorough investigation, Chelsea banned the fan for life, while also serving temporary bans to five other supporters over racial incidents in the same game.
Daniel Alves had the last laugh, as Barcelona emerged winners in a game against Villarreal 2014. The Brazilian right-back stepped up to take a corner when a banana was thrown at him. Alves went on to peel the banana and eat it, in a humorous response to the racist abuse directed at him.
26 minutes into a friendly against lower league side Pro Patria, AC Milan players Kevin Prince-Boateng, Urby Emanuelson, Sulley Muntari and M'Baye Niang were the subject of racial abuse by the Pro Patria fans. Boateng went on to tear his shirt and walk off the pitch, while the rest of the Milan players, led by captain Massimo Ambrosini, also walked off the pitch in solidarity with the Ghanaian.
Learn more about UEFA's three-step procedure to empower referees to act against racism...— UEFA (@UEFA) October 15, 2019
England were warned by the Bulgarian FA that they were likely to face racist abuse in the Euro Qualifier to be played in Sofia. Tyrone Mings and Raheem Sterling brought the racist abuse to the referees’ attention, after which play was stopped for a short while. An announcement was made warning the fans that the game will be abandoned if the racist abuse were to continue, after which the abuse stopped momentarily. The abuse continued once again in the second half. England, however, had the last laugh, as they raced to a 6-0 win over Bulgaria.