The Lead

Seriously? Another one of these? In twenty-fucking-twelve?

Three of Tottenham Hotspur’s black players were subjected to racist abuse from a section of the travelling Lazio support during the 0-0 Europa League draw between the clubs at White Hart Lane on Thursday night.

In front of the Uefa president, Michel Platini, Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and the substitute Andros Townsend were the targets of monkey chants when they ventured in front of the enclosure containing 1,500 Lazio fans.

The flashpoints followed the news that the Chelsea midfielder Mikel John Obi had deleted his Twitter account after he was racially abused by users on the site. The Nigerian removed his profile less than 24 hours after his mistake played a part in Juventus’s equaliser in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea have contacted the police.

Calls right now are for hosting Lazio’s next Europa League fixture behind closed doors, but that, quite frankly, is completely useless, a temporary blockade. Once the allegations are investigated, Lazio should be kicked out of European competition. FULL STOP. Have some of that. If your fans prove to be putrid skid marks, then it’s the entire club’s problem. Monkey chants at a game? Your club is out of Europe.

As for the people racially abusing Mikel John Obi, just ban them for life from every purchasing a Cheslea ticket again. Or how about any ticket to any league ground in England? For life?

Or better yet: here’s my solution. Move the Champions League knockout stage to North America. Host it over here. See how many monkey chants you hear in Fenway Park, or BMO Field, or RFK stadium. Yes, racism lives in American sport (hello, Boston Bruin ‘fans‘), and yes, our fans can also be giant, unbelievable pricks, but I’m willing to bet we can get through an entire season without hundreds of fans shouting racial epithets for all to hear.

Because if you can’t have a football game without a public display of racism, if you can’t even hold a memorial to the victims of Hillsborough without a week of opinion editorials warning rival fans not to ruin the entire thing by being utter douchebags, you don’t deserve football, Europe. Hand it over. You’ve had your turn…

Links

Honduras wants the Canada game on October 16th moved from the afternoon to the evening. Good for us? [Canadian Soccer News]

Life after Sir Alex Ferguson? [90 minutes Up]

Professor Harald Lang on the dark side of German supporter culture [Bundesliga Fanatic].

FIFA warns Jamaica about fun, awesome pitch invasions [KCKRS]

Juan Roman Riquelme: A quixotic enigma [IBWM].

Enjoy Marca’s paranoid interview with the chairman of Paris Saint-Germain [Marca].