As football clubs PSG and Istanbul Basaksehir walked off against racism in their football match, let’s look at the incident behind it and racism prevalent in major football leagues.
Crux of the Matter
PSG And Basaksehir Walk Off After Incident Of Racism
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) played Istanbul Basaksehir in a UEFA Champions League Match. However, the match was stopped in the 13th minute.
The match was stopped after the 4th official allegedly used racist language. The match was replayed on 9 December, where PSG won 5-1.
Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo strongly protested a refereeing decision. Vehement protests are punishable with yellow/red card. However, the 4th official Sebastian Coltescu reported the incident to the referee in the following way:
“The Black one over there. Go and check who he is. The Black one over there, it’s not possible to act like that.”
Basaksehir refused to restart after UEFA offered to swap 4th official and assistant Video assistant referee (VAR). PSG team (including stars Neymar and Mbappe) walked off in Basaksehir’s support. The move gained unequivocal support from the Turkish Football Federation, the French Sports Minister, both clubs, etc.
Racism In English Premier League
PSG-Basaksehir was not an isolated incident, with racism being prevalent in major leagues too.
- Raheem Sterling of Manchester City in EPL has been abused racially multiple times. He claimed after one incident that “regarding what was said at the Chelsea game… I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better”.
- A Tottenham supporter threw a banana peel at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal (2018).
- Paul Pogba of Manchester United was abused racially after missing a penalty (2019). His teammate Marcus Rashford, who defended him, received racial abuse himself instead.
Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism And Other Discrimination In EPL
Discrimination also occurs on a different basis in the EPL.
- Mohamed Salah of Liverpool was called “bomber” in Islamophobic chants by Chelsea fans (2019).
- Southampton fans allegedly chanted “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz, Hitler’s gonna gas them again” against Jewish fans of Tottenham Hotspurs (2019).
Notorious Serie A
Serie A of Italy has been cited as one of the most racist leagues. One notable incident occurred with the then Juventus player Moise Kean, who received racial abuse from Cagliari fans (2019).
Oddly, Kean’s own teammate Leonardo Bonucci called his goal-celebration ‘provocative’ and termed the blame “50-50”. Similarly, Mario Balotelli, Samuel Eto’o, and several other notable players have been subjected to ‘monkey chants’ by whole stadiums in past.
- Kick It Out is a campaign started in 1993 and as an organisation in 1997. The organisation works within the football, educational and community sectors to challenge discrimination, encourage inclusive practices and work for positive change.
- Any team that wins the Champions League three years in a row or five times overall wins the right to retain a full-sized replica of the trophy (UEFA retains the original at all times). Six clubs have earned this honour so far: Real Madrid, Ajax, Bayern Munich, Milan, Liverpool, and Barcelona.
- Queens Park Rangers Football Club is an English professional football club based in White City, London. On 20 December 2007, it was announced that the family of Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal had purchased a 20% shareholding in the club from Flavio Briatore. The purchase price of the 20% stake was just £200,000.
- ESPN – PSG vs. Istanbul Basaksehir abandoned because of alleged racism
- The Guardian – From parks to Premier League: the shocking scale of racism in English football
- BBC – Discrimination in football: Reports to Kick It Out rise 42% in 2019-20 season
- The New York Times – A Juventus Striker Faced Racist Abuse. His Teammate and His Coach Said He Provoked It.
- The Times Of Israel – Sheikh who bought into Beitar Jerusalem vows to show anti-Arab fans the light
- The Indian Express – Explained: The unusual case of an anti-Arab football team being owned by a sheikh
- BBC – Beitar Jerusalem: How do you change ‘the most racist’ club in Israel?
- The Independent – ‘It’s not racism. The Muslim players just shouldn’t be here’: Beitar Jerusalem fans walk out over signing of two Muslim Chechen players