For some ludicrous reason, racism still exists and is prevalent in football even after many years of campaigns against racism with star footballers. The likes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have appeared in UEFA funded PR campaigns.
The most recent incident involved Romelo Lukaku with his new club in Italy. Inter Milan signed the Belgian international from Manchester United for £73.9 million but in his second appearance in the Serie A against Cagliari, he was subjected to racist chants after he scored the winning penalty and to add salt to injury, Inter Milan ultras defended the racist chants by the Cagliari fans to “mess rivals up”.
This is not the first incident of racism in Italy and unfortunately will not be the last. Unironically, Cagliari’s fans were involved in another racial abuse chanting towards another black player, this time received heavy criticism by how it was handled back in July 2019.
Juventus’ young striker, Moise Kean, scored the winning goal against Cagliari and in his celebration held his hands up in response to the racist chants throughout the game. The Italian media were divided on a decisive issue including Kean’s teammate Leonardo Bonucci and the Juventus’ manager shifting some of the blame to Kean for apparently inciting the fans.
The racial abuse is not only limited in Italy but also at home in England on social media. Fortunately, there are tougher sanctions on those who are caught spewing racist chants at Premier League matches but social media is being used to continue this barbaric behaviour.
Tammy Abraham for Chelsea missed the final penalty against Liverpool in the European Super Cup final on 14th August 2019 but received racial abuse online. However, unlike Juventus’ manager, Frank Lampard was disgusted by the incident and said it does not represent the club.
Racial abuse is not only limited to young players but also to world-class players like Paul Pogba after missing a penalty that could have won Manchester United the game against Wolves. Many fans criticised Pogba for taking away the duty of penalty kicks from Marcus Rashford after missing 4 penalties for Manchester United in the league.
Some fans took it further with racist abused hurdle towards Pogba on social media. Ironically in the following week, Marcus Rashford, who never missed the penalty, hit the post which resulted in Manchester United losing the game. Once again, Rashford was not immune to racial abuse from fans.
Some of the comments online trying to justify these barbaric behaviours are these players receive large paychecks therefore, they can afford to ignore the racist abuse. Yet, this behaviour should not exist in Twenty-First Century football and insulting a player based on their colour of skin has no bearing to their performance on the pitch.