As I read the news on Twitter yesterday of UEFA’s paltry fine and single closed door match as punishment to the Serbian FA for events surrounding the U21 match against England last October, I was initially heartened to see a strong condemnation from major English journalists. I was even more assuaged this morning that Michel Platini himself is considering a rare appeal to the punishment, applauded by those same writers.
However, it is hard to feel sympathy for the broadsheet chattering classes in their quest for justice. I don’t recall for example any front page editorials calling for bans, point deductions and crippling club fines in the wake of West Ham’s antisemitic chanting at White Hart Lane. I don’t recall a single, major newspaper columnist who seriously countenanced the idea that John Terry should lose his job—not only for England but as a footballer full-stop—for calling a player a “black cunt”.
I don’t recall any editorials calling for stringent punishments for offensive and racist chants that regularly appear at football matches, as when Ji-Sung Park played for Manchester United and was serenaded with songs like, “He shoots, he scores, he’ll eat your labradors, Park Ji Sung, Park Ji Sung!” I don’t recall any print condemnation of Daily Mail writer Martin Samuel’s op-ed on Joey Barton in which he insinuated a French accent made one “gay.”
The struggle against bigotry and discrimination cannot simply be picked up when convenient and then dropped when it sullies your own house. Marcus Christenson said much the same yesterday in his When Saturday Comes op-ed:
“It is not the first time the FA has hit out at other countries regarding racism. At the moment, though, it needs to look a little bit closer to home. The above-mentioned incidents in England in recent weeks are not isolated. On Sunday, after Manchester United’s late win at Manchester City, there were racist tweets towards Rio Ferdinand. In August a man was arrested after sending racist tweets to the West Ham striker Carlton Cole. In February a Manchester United supporter was charged for shouting racist abuse at a Stoke City player during a Premier League match. The list, sadly, goes on. To deny there is a problem with racism in English football would be to completely undermine any position from which to condemn other countries as well as actually dealing with the problem.”
This is not to denigrate the efforts of many in England today to ensure UEFA punish the Serbian FA in a way that reflects the seriousness of the situation, but it undermines their effort of journalists when they fail to fight the evils at home with the same passion.
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Platini to appeal Uefa decision regarding Serbia U21 match vs England.
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City will be without Yaya, midfielder to attend African Nations Cup in the new year.
Darren Bent sidelined for another few weeks.
City unhappy with Barry’s suspension, but reluctantly accept.
One of Arsenal’s largest shareholders wants Henry in a supporting role with the club.
Milan advance to the next round in the Coppa Italia.
Strama defends Inter’s poor performances.
Xavi close to extending contract with Barcelona.
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The stunning goal in the Bundesliga that never made international headlines.
Djurdjic signs with Greuther Fuerth.
Bit and Bobs
Brazilian security forces to investigate violence at Copa Sudamericana final.
Michael Cox explains why playing David Luiz in midfield will benefit Chelsea.
Thanks to Alima Hotakie for compiling today’s links.