Sadly, Racism Still an Issue for UEFA

Tyler Solis, Staff Member

Racism is a big issue in sports, but it is a major problem is soccer. The moments of racism happen all across the world, from Russia to England to Lithuania. From fans to players to the coaching staff, from the 1980s to the 2000s, there have been many moments of racism in the sport.

On November 1st, 1987, John Barnes was playing for Liverpool, which was playing its biggest rivals, Everton. Liverpool was fighting for the Premier League title, while Everton was a mid-table team. The Everton fans were verbally abusing the only African-American on the field. Everton was angry because they were losing the game, so they decided to chant racist things at John Barnes. The Everton supporters even threw bananas on the field. John Barnes back-heeled the bananas off the field and simply continued playing the game.

One of the worst acts of racism happened in Serbia, on October 14, 2006. FK Borac Cacak supporters attacked their own players. The supporters had KKK hoods and displayed racist banners. The supporters targeted Mike Temwanjera the most. The police were called and removed the 37 people, but the damage was already done. Eight of the supporters got arrested, but only three of them got eight months in jail. A couple of years later, Solomon Opoku was attacked by racist fans. They also threatened to kill England international Danny Rose.

On September 20th, 2012 there was a Europa League match scheduled between

Tottenham Hotspurs and Lazio. Everything was going fine until the Lazio supporters started to make monkey chants that targeted Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon, and Andros Townsend. The UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) fined Lazio 32,500 Euros, but that fine fell on deaf ears because Lazio is worth 100 million Euros. The UEFA should have fined Lazio more so the message would be heard that UEFA stands against racism.  

There have been a lot of events where racism has been involved. The UEFA has punished it,, but has done nothing to actually prevent it from happening again. The UEFA put a “respect” badge on every team’s jersey when they play in a European competition. Unfortunately, racism is still present in soccer, but hopefully it will be out of every sport in the near future.