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Racism in association football is the abuse of players, officials and fans because of their skin colour, nationality, religion or ethnicity. Some may be targeted (also) because of their association with an opposing team. However, there have been instances of individuals being targeted by their own fans.[1][2][3]



Hanif Adams, the owner of Lusaka Dynamos, was subject to racist abuse due to his Indian heritage while running for the Presidency of the Football Association of Zambia. Informative videos have been created such as the one at [11].[4]



Israeli stadiums are not free from racism, and first racist incidents there took place in the 1970s, when Arab player Jimmy Turk joined Hapoel Tel Aviv. Turk was subjected to anti-Arab abuse during nearly every game he played.[5] According to Itzik Shanan, director of communications at the New Israel Fund, among most racist fans are supporters of Beitar Jerusalem, also Hapoel Tel Aviv fans have been using slogans promoting a Holocaust against Maccabi Tel Aviv.[6] Israeli right wing football supporters taunt Arab players during games, especially those who play for the mixed Arab-Jewish team Bnei Sakhnin.[5]

Under Israeli law, soccer fans can be prosecuted for incitement of racial hatred. The "New Voices from the Stadium" program, run by the New Israel Fund (NIF) amasses a "racism index" that is reported to the media on a weekly basis, and teams have been fined and punished for the conduct of their fans. According to Steve Rothman, the NIF San Francisco director, "Things have definitely improved, particularly in sensitizing people to the existence of racism in Israeli society."[7] In 2006, Israel joined Football Against Racism in Europe(FARE), network set up to counter racism in soccer.[8]


Historically, many Australian League clubs have been formed based on ethnic and racial associations and thus there have been instances of people of other groups not getting fair opportunities in football employment. New regulations in 2005 forbade such racial associations.[9]

At a 1994 match in Melbourne between the Croatian community supported Melbourne Knights and the Greek community supported South Melbourne, many ethnic slurs were exchanged between the two sets of supporters.[10]



Oguchi Onyewu, an American of Nigerian descent, has been punched and shouted at by racist fans while playing for Standard Liège.[11] He's also had incidents with other players, such as Jelle Van Damme, who, according to Onyewu, repeatedly called him a "dirty ape"[12] during the 2008–09 Championship playoff, even after Onyewu relayed the information to the referees.[13] Van Damme denied the accusations following the match, and claimed that Onyewu had called him a "dirty Flemish".[12] Approximately two weeks later, on June 2, 2009, it was announced by Onyewu's lawyer that he was suing Van Damme in an effort to end on-field racism in European football.[14]

Zola Matumona left FC Brussels after he accused club chairman Johan Vermeersch of making racist remarks towards him during a crisis meeting at the struggling club. He is reported to have told Matumona to "think about other things than trees and bananas."[15]


In January 2005, as part of an anti-racism initiative in the French league, Paris Saint-Germain's players wore all-white jerseys and the opposing RC Lens players wore all-black during a French league match. The move backfired as racist elements among PSG's crowd in the Kop of Boulogne sing "Come on the whites." The racist overtone was backed up with monkey chants from the Boulogne crowd when Lens players touch the ball.[16]

On 18 April 2007, Lyon player Milan Baroš was accused of racially abusing Rennes' Stéphane M'Bia by implying that M'Bia smelled.[17] On 4 May 2007 Baros was found guilty of the gesture, but found not guilty of racism, and was banned for three league matches.[18]

On 17 September 2007, Libourne's Burkinabe player Boubacar Kébé was abused by fans of Bastia; he was red-carded for retaliating.[19] In February 2008, Bastia was again at the centre of controversy when their fans unfurled a racist banner, again aimed at Kébé, which delayed the kick-off of the match by three minutes.[20]

On 17 February 2008, Abdeslam Ouaddou of Valenciennes was racially abused by a fan from opponents Metz; Metz and the French league announced that they would be suing the fan in question. The match referee did not see the incident, and so booked Ouaddou for challenging the fan.[21] Valenciennes chairman Francis Decourriere later demanded that the match be replayed, "in front of children from Valenciennes and Metz."[22] Following this incident, the French Football Federation made steps to introduce harsher punishments.[23]

In March 2008, Bastia's Frédéric Mendy claimed he had been racially abused by Grenoble's fans.[24]


Racism in Germany accelerated after the reunification of Germany; by 1992 neo-Nazi groups in Germany had begun to use football matches as occasions to plan and organise attacks against local ethnic communities and East European, particularly Turkish, refugees.

In 1994, Borussia Dortmund star Júlio César threatened to leave the club after he was refused admission to a local nightclub because of his black complexion.[2]

FC St. Pauli fans responded decisively to outbreaks of racism in the German game. With the slogan, Gegen rechts ('Against the Right'), a combination of fans and students took to the club's terraces in 1992 to stand up against politically motivated racism.

In December 1992, all the teams in the German League followed the St Pauli lead and, over one weekend, all players played in shirts displaying the slogan Mein Freund ist Ausländer ('My friend is a Foreigner'). The German Sports Youth's 1995 "No Chance for Hatred" campaign has promoted activities against racism and xenophobia on a national scale, encouraging local clubs to participate. Unfortunately, this campaign has not spurred German football authorities into further action.

Merkel (1996) reports that they vehemently refuse to acknowledge that racism is a major problem, and dismiss racist abuses as isolated incidents which have nothing to do with the sport. Most of their measures are concerned with law and order - cutting down violence at matches - but anti-racist action is very sparse. Anti-racist initiatives are designed to create positive publicity but generally consist of little more than token gestures, such as rock concerts and short term advertising campaigns.

Racism in German football is much more subtle than in other parts of Europe; monkey chants have been replaced with codes, such as the number 88, which stands for 'HH' or 'Heil Hitler' ('H' is the eighth letter of the alphabet in German and English). Some teams, for example Hannover 96, have banned such symbols from their stadiums.[25]

On 25 March 2006, in a match between FC Sachsen Leipzig and Hallescher FC, Leipzig's Nigerian midfielder Adebowale Ogungbure was spat at and called 'Nigger' and 'ape' by opposition fans, who later aimed monkey noises at him. In retaliation he placed two fingers above his mouth and saluted at the crowd - a reference to Adolf Hitler.[original research?] Ogungbure was arrested by German police, as it is illegal to make Nazi gestures for political or abusive purposes, but criminal proceedings were dropped 24 hours later.[26]

In April 2006, in a match between St. Pauli and Chemnitzer FC, visiting Chemnitz fans stormed Turkish-owned stores chanting "Sieg Heil" and waving imitation Nazi flags. Some shouted: "We're going to build a subway from St Pauli to Auschwitz".[26]

Ghana-born German international striker Gerald Asamoah has frequently been the target of racist abuse. On 10 September 2006 Hansa Rostock were investigated for racist abuse in a friendly game[27] and were subsequently found guilty; the team was fined $25,000.[28]

On 19 August 2007 it was announced that Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller would be investigated by the German Football Association (DFB) after apparently calling Asamoah a 'black pig'.[29]

On 4 February 2007 a racist German football fan was apprehended by fellow fans during a match between Energie Cottbus and VfL Bochum, and faces a lifetime ban.[30]

Racist chants in Cottbus are said to be commonplace.[30]

Torsten Ziegner was given a five-match ban in October 2008 for racially abusing Nigerian player Kingsley Onuegbu during a match against Eintracht Braunschweig.[31]


Ronny Rosenthal, playing for Israel's Maccabi Haifa in 1989, was subjected to anti-Semitic taunts.[32]

Black footballers playing in the Serie A top flight in 1992-1993 were also racially abused. Two black Dutch players, Ruud Gullit and Aron Winter, have spoken out against such racist taunts. Their complaints spurred a day of action on 13 December 1992, with the slogan No al razzimo! (No To Racism) being paraded by all players in the two Italian divisions.[32]

Paul Ince also complained about open abuse during his spell with Inter Milan in Italy between 1995 & 1997.[2]

On 27 November 2005, Marco Zoro attempted to stop the Messina-Inter Milan match by leaving the field with the ball, after being tormented by racist taunts from some Inter supporters. He was eventually convinced to keep playing by other players, notably by Inter's Adriano. These facts then brought strong and unanimous condemnations by the whole football community within Italy, and even a 5 minute delay for an anti-racism display for all the matches to be played in the next week in the country. The actions of the Inter supporters were also brought to the attention of the European football governing body UEFA as well as that of the European Union.[11]

On April 2009 Internazionale's Mario Balotelli, an Italian footballer of Ghanaian descent, was subjected to racial abuse from Juventus fans.[33] They were handed a one game home fan ban as a result.[34]


On 24 March 2007, in a match between France and Lithuania, a racist banner was unfurled by Lithuanian supporters. Directed against France's black players, it represented a map of Africa, painted with the French flag colors (blue, white and red), with a slogan of "Welcome to Europe".[35]


In a match between Rangers and FK Zeta, Rangers players DaMarcus Beasley (an African American) and Jean-Claude Darcheville (a black Frenchman) were subjected to racist abuse by FK Zeta players[36] and Zeta were later fined £9,000.[37]


Ajax fans have the tradition of using Jewish and Israeli symbols to express their allegiance. Regularly, the supporters wave large Star of David flags and scream Joden! Joden! ("Jews! Jews!") to fire up their team. Die-hard Ajax supporters call themselves "F-Siders" or "Joden" - Dutch for "Jews" - a nickname that reflects the team's and Amsterdam's Jewish roots. However, opposing supporters are known to use anti-Semitic remarks to express their antipathy towards Ajax. This is expressed in slogans such as Hamas, hamas, joden aan het gas (Hamas, Hamas, Jews into the gas) or producing hissing sounds that imitate the flow of gas.

This however, does not withhold the 'Jewish' supporters from celebrating the Bombing of Rotterdam by Nazi Germany when facing Feyenoord with songs like Rotterdam, kankerstad, in de oorlog lag je lekker plat (Rotterdam, cancer town, in the war they rightly bombed it down!). Songs like this (using the melody of "Tulips from Amsterdam") were sung from the stage, i.e. organised, at the celebration of the winning of the Dutch Cup in 2006.

The hardcore Ajax fans, however, are proud of their outsider image as "Jews" and feel encouraged to show more Israeli/Jewish signs. Jews who support Ajax are split on this matter. Dutch authorities have tried to tone down the Jewish symbols of support for Ajax, hoping to lead to a decrease of anti-Semitic counter-incidents. However, the head of the European Board of Jewish Deputies has signalled his support for the F-siders, noting that anti-Semitism in Europe would be lessened if more non-Jews identified with Jewish culture.

As The Netherlands harboured Jews from Nazi Germany before being overrun in World War II, this carries over to matches involving the national team.[38]

In a 1991 interview, SC Heerenveen manager Fritz Korbach racially abused black players Bryan Roy ("een kleine rotneger", "a short fucking nigger") and Romário ("die koffieboon van PSV", "that coffee bean of PSV").[2][39] During Euro 96, black player Edgar Davids was sent home after publicly alleging discrimination within the team's organisation.[2]


In one case, young player Caleb Francis was severely abused in his debut match for Kongsvinger IL. The abuse halted and nearly broke his career, but he returned to Kongsvinger's senior team after a two years,[40] and enjoyed a long career.

Several other players have experienced racism, often while playing national or club matches abroad. These players include Daniel Braaten[41] and Pa Modou Kah.[42]

Top-tier club Vålerenga Fotball famously played their with the slogan "Vålerenga Against Racism" instead of a shirt sponsor in the 1997 season.[43] An official campaign, initiated by the footballers' trade union, is called "Give Racism the Red Card".


According to The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism football stadiums in Poland are recruiting ground for extremist organizations (such as antisemitic National Rebirth of Poland).[44][45] Until a few years ago, Neo-fascist symbols were a common sight there.[44][46]

During the Extraordinary Congress of the International Football Federation (FIFA), held in Buenos Aires on 6–7 July 2001, the problem of racism in Polish football was discussed and Polish national football association was called to join the struggle against racism.[44] The problem of antisemitism in Polish football has drawn international criticism. Poland was named as one of the worst offenders, in British MP John Mann report, which describes anti-Semitic incidents in 18 countries across Europe. It was noted that Polish fans routinely call each other 'Jews' as a term of abuse.[47] In April 2008 ŁKS Łódź player Arkadiusz Mysona wore a shirt which said "Śmierć żydzewskiej kurwie" ("Death to Widzew-Jewish Whore", which is a word play, used by the LKS Lodz supporters, who call fans of their local rivals Jews) after a match in the Polish Ekstraklasa.[48] Mysona said afterwards that the shirt was given to him by a fan and he hadn´t checked it. nota bene: Quite a few of the founders of both clubs from Lodz were Polish Jews.


Cameroonian player André Bikey suffered racism while playing for Lokomotiv in Moscow.[49]

As Zenit kicked off their 2006/07 Russian Premier League campaign against visitors Saturn, Brazilian footballer Antonio Geder was received with a chorus of monkey chants at Petrovsky Stadium.[50]

In March 2008, black players of French side Marseille - including André Ayew, Ronald Zubar and Charles Kaboré - were targeted by fans of Zenit Saint Petersburg;[51] Zenit fans were later warned by police in Manchester not to repeat their behaviour ahead of the 2008 UEFA Cup Final.[52] Later Zenit's coach Dick Advocaat revealed the club's supporters were racist. When they attempted to sign Mathieu Valbuena, a Frenchman, many fans asked "Is he a negro?"[53] Also Serge Branco, who played for Krylya Sovetov, accused Zenit's staff of racism. "Each time I play in St Petersburg I have to listen to racist insults from the stands. Zenit bosses do not do anything about it which makes me think they are racists too."[53]

On 20 August 2010, Odemwingie joined Premier League team West Bromwich Albion for an undisclosed fee. He signed a 3 year contract and was granted the number 24 shirt. Shortly after signing for West Brom, photographs showed Lokomotiv Moscow fans celebrating the sale of Odemwingie through the use of racist banners targeted at the player. One banner included the image of a banana and read "Thanks West Brom" (10)


In October 2006, 37 Borac Cacak fans were arrested and eight faced criminal charges after racially abusing the club's Zimbabwean player Mike Temwanjera during a first division match. Several days later, 152 supporters of first division side Rad Belgrade were detained after shouting anti-Muslim slogans during a match against their Novi Pazar rivals.[54] Borac Cacak was at the centre of more controversy in March 2008 when a Ghanaian player, Solomon Opoku, was attacked by fans; six fans were later arrested, with four being later charged.[55]

On 29 November 2006, Hajduk Kula coach Nebojsa Vucicevic racially insulted Red Star Belgrade's Senegal defender Ibrahima Gueye.[56]

An unnamed Serbia U-21 player was accused of racially abusing Justin Hoyte, while Serbian fans also apparently racially abused Nedum Onuoha.[57]

Following racist abuse from FK Zeta fans, DaMarcus Beasley recalled previous instances of racism in Serbia, from fans of Red Star Belgrade.[58] However, Red Star has been defended by some of its black players, such as Segundo Castillo and Franklin Salas, with Castillo saying that "Red Star fans are not racist".[59]


On 4 April 2007 football supporters from Slovan Bratislava displayed a banner which contained the words 'Alles Gute Adi' and a smiley-head face of Adolf Hitler during a match against FC Senec; racist chants were also heard. Just three days later, on 7 April 2007, Slovan Bratislava fans were responsible for directing monkey chants at Artmedia's Karim Guede.[60]


Aston Villa's Dalian Atkinson returned from Spain after one season with Real Sociedad, unhappy with the reception he received, and identifying racial abuse as a major factor in his rapid departure from the Spanish club.[2]

Felix Dja Ettien suffered racial abuse when he first signed for Levante; he was ignored by the coach due to his inability to speak Spanish, and whenever he fell ill he was accused of having malaria or AIDS.[61]

During a training session in 2004, a Spanish TV crew filmed Spanish national team head coach Luis Aragonés trying to motivate José Antonio Reyes by making offensive and racist references to Reyes' then teammate at Arsenal, Thierry Henry. The phrase used was "Demuestra que eres mejor que ese negro de mierda", translated as "Show that you're better than that black shit". The incident caused uproar in the British media with calls for Aragonés to be sacked. However these opinions were not widely supported in Spain, with the national football federation declining to take any action, and politicians being slow to denounce the remarks.[citation needed] When Spain played England in a friendly match at the Bernabéu soon after, on 17 November 2004, the atmosphere was hostile. Whenever black England players touched the ball, a significant proportion of the Spanish crowd began to make monkey chants, in particular to Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ashley Cole. And when England sang their national anthem before kick off, Spanish fans also racially chanted against English players. Aragonés' remarks were widely blamed by the British press for inciting the incident. After an investigation into the events during the match, UEFA fined the RFEF 100,000 CHF/ 87,000 USD and warned that any future incidents would be punished more severely.[62] The incident even drew reactions from then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and Sports Minister Richard Caborn.[63], with Caborn making the claim that the behaviour of Spanish fans was twenty or thirty years behind that their British counterparts.[64] UEFA noted that possible punishments could include suspension from major international tournaments or the closure of Spain home international matches to supporters. On 7 February 2007 Aragonés won an appeal over the offence, with the misdemeanour being downgraded to "conduct which could be considered to be racist".[65]

In February 2005, Samuel Eto'o suffered from racially-driven verbal abuse by some Real Zaragoza spectators during a match for FC Barcelona. The fans began making monkey-like chants whenever Eto'o had possession of the ball and peanuts were hurled onto the pitch. Eto'o threatened to leave the pitch in the middle of the game, but was prevented by the intervention of his team-mates and the referee, who rushed to the pitch to calm him down. His teammate Ronaldinho, who has suffered similar abuses but less intensely, said he was fed up with the sounds and that if Eto'o had left the pitch, he would have done the same. As Barcelona won 4-1, Eto'o danced like a monkey, saying rival fans were treating him as a monkey.[66] Referee Fernando Carmona Mendez did not mention the incidents in his match report, commenting only that the behaviour of the crowd was "normal".[66] The fans were identified to police by fellow spectators and they were fined and banned from attending sporting events for five months.[67] Eto'o declared in the aftermath that the punishment was insufficient and that La Romareda, Real Zaragoza's stadium, should have been closed for at least one year. However, Eto'o's coach, Frank Rijkaard, told him to concentrate on football and to stop talking about the incident. Eto'o has stated that he does not take his children to football matches, due the prevalent racism[68] and has also suggested that players walk off if they become victims of racism.[69]

Many other African footballers have also been victims of racial abuse, such as Cameroon's Idriss Carlos Kameni, who was abused while playing for Espanyol against Atlético Madrid, who were fined €6000.[32]

In January 2009, the Royal Spanish Football Federation fined Real Madrid about $3,900 after a group of fans made fascist gestures and chanted fascist slogans at a match. Match referee Alfonso Perez Burrull cited "extremist or radical symbolism," and chanted making reference to "the gas chamber."¨[70]


In 2009, fans of Swedish football team IFK Göteborg attacked supporters of rivals Malmö FF by referring to them as "Rosengårdstattare" ("Rosengård gypsies"), in a racist reference to the large immigrant population of Malmö.[71][72] Also, fans of Helsingborgs IF have been known to yell monkey chants at opposing dark-skinned players.[73]

United Kingdom


The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Football Supporters Association (FSA) and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) have all launched initiatives in a bid to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to attend matches.[74]

Arthur Wharton, born in Gold Coast, was the world's first Black professional footballer, and played as a goalkeeper for Darlington, although he was outdated by Andrew Watson, who was a Scottish amateur footballer. Other early non-white footballers include Walter Tull and Hong Y Soo.[75]

The dark-skinned Everton F.C. center-forward, Dixie Dean, recalled how racist comments were aimed at him as he left the pitch at half time during a match in London in the 1930s. Dean, reportedly, punched the offender himself before disappearing into the players' tunnel. The authorities took no action against Dean, and a nearby police officer was alleged to have informed the victim that he had "deserved" his punishment.[2]

Steve Mokone, a black South African who later played for FC Barcelona, left Coventry City after his manager said to him "We brought you over here and you are not satisfied. That's the trouble with you people"; Mokone interpreted this as being racist, and he swiftly signed for Heracles Almelo.[76]

The player Roger Verdi, who is of Indian origin, changed his name from Rajinder Singh Birdi due to racism.[77]

On 21 April 2004, Ron Atkinson resigned from ITV after he was caught making a racist remark live on air about the black Chelsea F.C. player Marcel Desailly: believing the microphone to be switched off, he said, "...he [Desailly] is what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger". Although transmission in the UK had finished, the microphone gaffe meant that his comment was broadcast to various countries in the Middle East. He also left his job as a columnist for The Guardian "by mutual agreement" as a result of the comment.

On 13 January 2007, The FA charged Newcastle player Emre Belözoğlu with "using racially-aggravated abusive and/or insulting words", referring to an incident during the 3-0 defeat by Everton at Goodison Park on 30 December 2006.[78] Emre was, on 16 February 2007, accused of more racist behaviour, this time against Bolton's El Hadji Diouf.[79] However, on 1 March 2007, it was revealed that Diouf would not be pursuing his claim.[80] It was also later revealed that Watford player Al Bangura had released a statement declaring that he was the victim of racist abuse from Emre.[80] On 19 March he was cleared of the charges relating to the Everton game.[81]

On 6 March 2007 it was announced that the Metropolitan Police were investigating apparent anti-Semitic chants by West Ham fans before the match with Spurs two days previously after a video of the offence surfaced on the internet.[82]

On 7 April 2007, in a match between Rotherham and Gillingham, Gillingham keeper Kelvin Jack was racially abused by a Rotherham fan. On 13 April 2007, the fan was banned for life from the club.[83]

Following his appointment as manager in September 2007, Israeli Avram Grant has been the subject of anti-Semitic taunts from some Chelsea fans; Grant's father was a Polish survivor of the German Nazi Holocaust;[84] Grant has also received death threats and anti-Semitic post.[85]

In November 2008, Middlesbrough's Egyptian forward Mido was subjected to Islamophobic chanting from a small number of Newcastle United fans. Mido had been subjected to similar chants the previous year, again from Newcastle fans.[86]

Player John Barnes was targeted by his own team's fans.[2]

During a League Cup match between Blackpool and Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on 22 September 2009, Blackpool player Jason Euell, who at the time was sat on the substitutes bench was racially abused by a Stoke fan, who was ejected from the stadium and subsequently arrested by Staffordshire Police, before being released pending inquiries.[87] Euell confronted the supporter that was taunting him. Blackpool manager Ian Holloway, who had to restrain Euell, was furious in his post-match interview, saying:

We are human beings and Jason is a footballer. The colour of his skin shouldn't matter. It was disgusting. The stewards believed what Jason said, got the bloke out and I hope he is banned for life. (He is) an absolute disgrace of a human being. I thought those days had gone. Jason was just sat in the dugout at the time. I saw his reaction and I had to calm him down. It's absolutely disgraceful.[88]

Euell, who received an official apology from Stoke City, later said:

It did hurt. I felt I had to stand up for all colours and creeds and show that we won't accept it. I'm proud that I made a stand. It was a shock to hear what came out of the guy's mouth. Racism in football is not dead and buried but it's still a shock to hear that kind of thing in close proximity. There were people near the idiot who didn't agree with it, but there were others who turned a blind eye, which was disappointing.[89]

In the wake of the incident, Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp called for fans who racially abuse players to be imprisoned: "That is disgusting – there's no place for that in the game. Surely we can't have that sort of behaviour now? Anyone who does it should be put in prison – not banned from football. Stick them where they belong, in the nut-house. It's wrong."[87]


Andrew Watson was the first black football player to represent Scotland. Watson never turned professional, however, so Arthur Wharton is sometimes reported as being the first black British footballer.[75]

The book Race, Sport and British Society says there was racist abuse of Celtic player Paul Wilson by Rangers fans in the 1970s: "Rangers fans repeatedly bayed 'Wilson's a Paki' when Celtic played Rangers".[90] There have been reports that some Rangers fans used to sing "I'd rather be a darkie than a Tim".[91][92][93]

The book Sport and National Identity In the Post-War World says "black players in Scotland were greeted with bananas thrown from the crowd and a barrage of 'monkey grunts', notably Mark Walters of Rangers and Paul Elliott of Celtic."[93] On 2 January 1988, Rangers winger Mark Walters made his debut in the Old Firm derby match at Celtic Park. Rangers lost 2–0 and Walters was subjected to racist abuse from opposing Celtic fans who were caught on camera chanting like monkeys, throwing fruit, (mostly bananas) onto the pitch and dressing in monkey costumes.[94] It was reported that Rangers fans used "implicit racism" on the same day by singing "I'd rather be a darkie than a Tim (Irish catholic)".[93] Although Celtic slammed the perpetrators, the Scottish Football Association remained silent.[95] According to Walters, he experienced even worse racial abuse in Edinburgh against Hearts.[90] Following racist abuse aimed at Walters, Rangers banned some of their own season ticket holders.[96] Andrew Smith from The Scotsman newspaper stated: "It is depressing to think that enforcement as much as enlightenment might account for Walters being the only black footballer in this country to have had bananas thrown at them."[94]

Rangers captain Lorenzo Amoruso issued a public apology after a match in December 1999 for making racist comments against Borussia Dortmund's Nigerian striker Victor Ikpeba.[97] In March 2003, Rangers fans were accused of racially abusing Bobo Balde and Momo Sylla.[98][99][100][101] Rangers chairman John McClelland stated that ""There was such a crescendo during Saturday's match although I thought I heard noises of this kind I can't be 100% sure."[101] In May 2004, Marvin Andrews condemned racism from some Rangers fans.[102]

During a 2007 Scottish Cup tie, St. Johnstone player Jason Scotland was the target of racist taunts by a handful of Motherwell fans. The offenders were promptly reprimanded by the spectators around them and were reported to police and match stewards.[103] Motherwell chairman John Boyle later issued an apology on behalf of the club.[104] Motherwell were to court further controversy on 3 September 2007 when Laryea Kingston of Hearts was abused, although Motherwell refuted the claims.[105]

Three Scottish judges ruled in June 2009 that The Famine song is racist because it targets people of Irish origin.[106][107] George Peat, President of the Scottish Football Association, has suggested that the song causes embarrassment for Scottish football and should be stamped out.[108] Peat has also stated that the SFA is determined to contribute to the eradication of offensive songs from Scottish football.[109] In November 2008, a Rangers fan was found guilty of a breach of the peace (aggravated by religious and racial prejudice) for singing The Famine Song during a game against Kilmarnock.[110] It was widely reported after an Old Firm game in February 2009 that Rangers fans had sung The Famine Song at Celtic Park.[111][112] Graham Spiers wrote in May 2009 that Rangers fans were continuing to sing bigoted songs during matches at Ibrox.[113] The Herald journalist Doug Gillon has written that "the sectarian intolerance which divides Scottish society [...] is rooted in anti-Irish racism."[114]

In October 2009, Rangers player Maurice Edu said he was racially abused by some Rangers fans while leaving Ibrox after a UEFA Champions League defeat by Unirea Urziceni.[3] Edu wrote on Twitter: "Not sure what hurt more: result or being racially abused by couple of our own fans as I'm getting in my car."

North America


In the first day of the Apertura 2006 tournament, the fans of Santos Laguna made guttural sounds imitating a chimpanzee against the Panamanian player Felipe Baloy of Monterrey as he scored a goal. During the game, Santos Laguna's fans had also chanted other racial slurs towards Baloy, including chango (monkey) and come platano (banana eater).[115] The disciplinary commission of the Mexican Football Federation sanctioned the Santos club to a sum equivalent of 5,600 days of league minimum wage for the racist insults.[116]

United States

During a May 24, 2008 Major League Soccer game between the Columbus Crew and the New England Revolution, Revolution forward Kheli Dube (originally from Zimbabwe) scored a goal against the Crew in the 89th minute of the game. An unidentified fan in the audience shouted out a racial slur. The incident was subsequently posted to the video sharing website YouTube, and MLS promised an investigation. In response to the epithet Revolution player Shalrie Joseph reportedly made an obscene gesture towards the offending fan. Assuming that MLS could have identified the fan, commisoner Don Garber promised to ban him.[117][118][119]

South America


On 14 April 2005, the Quilmes player Leandro Desabato was arrested for racially abusing Grafite, a black Brazilian player.[120] He was held for 40 hours, and no charges were brought against the player after Grafite decided not to press charges.[121]

See also


  1. Sport and national identity in the ... - Google Books. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Fact Sheet 6: Racism and Football". University of Leicester. Retrieved 2008-02-17.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | R | Rangers | Police probe into abuse of Edu". BBC News. 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2010-03-19.
  4. Gondwe, Kennedy (2008-02-25). "Faz presidency marred by racial abuse.". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "England and Israel join for anti-racism football campaign". European Jewish Press. 2006-03-07. Archived from the original on 2013-01-12. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  6. Zalen, Matt (2006-11-01). "Israel joins fight against soccer racism". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  7. A noble goal: Can Israel give soccer racism the boot?, by Joe Eskenazi, JWeekly
  8. Israel joins fight against soccer racism, by MATT ZALEN, Jerusalem Post
  9. [1][dead link]
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External links

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