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Racism In European Football: Global Campaigns To Eliminate Racism

2471 words - 10 pages

Football as it is know outside North America (Soccer) is among the most ubiquitous and beloved sport in the world. The worldwide audience for the FIFA World Cup typically exceeds 1 billion, and hundreds of thousands of spectators flock to watch their countries team participate. One of the fundamental concerns surrounding the game today revolves around the prolonged occurrence of racism, especially racial abuse to players by fans. Omi and Winant (1994) have identified, elements of racism with a strong correlation relating to sport, such as ‘temperament, athletic ability and sexuality.
Given its recent history of anti-racist activity, English football is often cited as a figurehead example of challenging racism through popular culture and encouraging ethnic minority participation. (Garland, and Rowe, 2001) Although the growing example of black players in the professional game in England has greatly risen over the last decade, there is still increasing concern. With 568 players competing in the English Premier League (EPL) 183 black, 379 white and eight Asian, of all the players 32.22 percent are black. Of the 232 English players in the EPL 80 are black, a small 34.47 percent considering the EPL is the largest and wealthiest league in the world (Omi & Winant, 1994). Players from ethnic minority backgrounds are rarely represented in the English game and yet the biggest target for racial descent. In the other parts of the football industry, particularly in coaching and managerial positions or roles with real power and authority we don’t see genuine ethnical diversity.
Nowadays clashes between elite powerhouse teams are subject to extensive media coverage: footage of events replayed frame by frame, in context of a constant media environment transforming the life’s of those who play. Significantly, linguistic analysis has become a very popular tool to analyze what was said, and about what words and phrases mean. This tool has helped officials investigate claims on field relative to arguments about whether the uses of racist epithets are acceptable. A decade or so ago, a common stance was that racist abuse on the pitch was part of the game: the heat of the sporting moment rendered words and phrases less heinous than they might being other contexts (Rowe and Garland, 2012).
The EPL first two real “on the field” racial incidents at two separate fixtures occurred October 2011. The first incident reported was between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield , Luis Suárez of Liverpool received an eight-game ban and a £40,000 ($67,000) fine for using racial expressions deemed to be racist by an Independent Commission established by the FA towards Manchester United player, Patrice Evra (1). One week after the first incident, a game between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road, John Terry (the then England captain at the time) was ultimately given a four-match ban and a £220,000 ($370,000) fine for the use of racist language towards Anton...

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