The fight against racism in football was dealt a heavy blow as Ghana’s Sulley Muntari became the latest victim of an attack in the Italian Serie A. In the match between Pescara and Cagliari, Muntari, a Ghanaian by birth, was at the receiving end of racist chants from a section of the Cagliari fans. Muntari walked off the pitch after he was given a yellow card for telling the referee to ask the perpetrators of the act to stop. In this feature, we look at other footballers who have been at the receiving end of racist acts and their reactions.
Kevin Prince Boateng (AC Milan vs Pro Patria, Italy)
In January 2013, during a friendly match between AC Milan and Pro Patria, Ghanaian international Kevin-Prince Boateng walked off in a racist row. The flashpoint came in the 26th minute when Boateng picked up the ball and smashed it towards the stand behind him. He then tore off his shirt and walked from the field. He was followed by his team-mates and the match was abandoned.
Kevin Constant (AC Milan vs Sassuolo, Italy)
In July 2013, and still in Italy, AC Milan player Kevin Constant walked off the pitch after suffering racist abuse. The incident took place when AC Milan played Sassuolo in the Trofeo TIM tournament. Constant, who is from Guinea, walked off the field after kicking the ball into the stands in the 34th minute. The referee allowed a substitute to come on and also ordered an announcement warning that the game would be suspended if further incidents occurred.
Dani Alves (Barcelona vs Villarreal, Spain)
In April 2014, during a Spanish league cup between Barcelona and Villarreal, former Barcelona defender Dani Alves was at the receiving end of racist taunts. He had a banana thrown at him when he was preparing to take a corner kick. Alves pulled off a class act by picking it up the banana which landed at his feet and ate it before taking the corner kick.
After the incident Alves retorted that humour was the best way to combat racism in sports
Everton Luiz (Partizan Belgrade vs Rad Belgrade, Serbia)
In February 2017, Everton Luis, a Brazilian who plays for Partizan Belgrade in the Serbian league left the match in tears after enduring 90 minutes of racist chants from the fans of Rad Belgrade. Rad fans unveiled a banner insulting him, which led to the referee halting the game for the banner to be removed. Public messages were also released by the stewards to get the Rad fans to stop their chanting, but to no avail. Everton lasted the entire game but he left the field in tears. To add insult to injury, he was also given a yellow card for confronting the Rad fans after the game.
Racism is still rife in football even in 2017, which begs the question, “will racism ever be completely eradicated from this beautiful sport?”. Indeed, if events like these continue, football will have no right regarding itself as beautiful, because this is nowhere near beautiful. It’s time to show racism the red card. Say no to racism!
WRITER- AYELE COMMODORE-MENSAH.