On December 2, 2010 FIFA announced that the 2018 World Cup would be played in Russia. Now if the fact that the country of Russia is a communist nation isn’t enough to raise some eyebrows or scratch your head on the obvious bone headed decision to award them the most prestigious sports tournament in the world, how about the fact that the Russian fans are notoriously known for being the most racist supporters in the world. With 2018 edging ever so closer, FIFA must take immediate action or else they will face the biggest threat in world football to date.
6 days ago during a match between UFA and Spartak Moscow, Emmanuel Frimpong was involved in a scuffle at the corner flag near the home supporters of Moscow when he heard monkey chants directed towards him which prompted the Ghanaian midfielder to flick off the racist fans. Moments later the referee showed Frimpong a red card for his “indecent” behavior towards the crowd. To make the situation much worse the former Arsenal player was criticized by his own club as well the Russian FA have denied any notion of racist chants directed towards Frimpong after he was handed a two match ban. However the issue of racism in Russian football exceeds far beyond the Emmanuel Frimpong debacle. In 2011 Brazilian world cup winner Roberto Carlos, who was playing for Russian club Anzhi at the time, had a banana thrown him from the crowd, which caused the left back to walk off the field and not continue the match. Zenit St. Petersburg forward Hulk has come out and said he experiences racism in almost every game he plays. In a Uefa Champions League match between Manchester City and CSKA Moscow, Ivory Coast midfielder YaYa Toure stated that he came under the attack of racist chants by the home fans and said that African nations could boycott attending the 2018 event.
Which brings us to our situation at hand. The last thing FIFA needs right now is a protest on the global level. African countries have always played a significant role in the World Cup in recent years. Whether they are lighting the world stage up with their intricate style of play or entertaining the fans with their unusual celebrations, the African teams bring the party. Although UEFA has taken action over the years to try and halt the racist rampage in Russia, FIFA and the Russian FA have failed to take action on these hooligans. Now I can look past the obvious corruption that took place in the voting process in Zurich 5 years ago but I will not tolerate racism in the global game. If African nations do decide to boycott the upcoming event whose knows what we would be missing out on. What if the world never saw Roger Milla salsa at the corner flag in 1990. The iconic image of Cameroonian forward Francois Omam-Biyik leaping to a header to seal a historic victory over the then current holders Argentina would never be seen y the world. Sepp Blatter, or who ever his successor is, must take immediate action on these racist barbarians before the global game loses its credibility.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : David Sanchez