While racism has plagued society for centuries, its prominence in football came in the post-war years as immigration rose in the UK, leading to an influx of black footballers facing abuse both on and off the pitch. Hooligan groups like the far-right National Front spread hate in the stands, with racist taunts and violence seen as commonplace by players like Brendon Batson and Cyrille Regis in the 1970s.
Though stadiums today lack the violence of the 1970s and 1980s, racism still remains rife. After the three Black England players missed penalties in the Euro 2020 final, they immediately faced a barrage of racist comments and emojis online. Brazil legend Roberto Carlos once walked off the pitch mid-match due to a banana being hurled his way. And Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior recently highlighted a year’s worth of constant racist abuse he’s endured, saying it’s become sadly routine. In addition, you can also read an article on- Lionel Messi vs Cristiano Ronaldo: Comparing Two Icons of Modern Football
While organizations like Kick It Out have worked for decades to fight racism in football, it remains a stubborn stain on the sport. More vigorous action from footballers, clubs, governing bodies, and governments is still required to safeguard the game. Supporters, too, must be vocal in reporting any instances of racism they witness. Only through persistence can racism finally be eradicated from football’s ranks.
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