Sunday 21 October 2012

Kick out Racism: Why all the expectation on football?

As much as I love football, I sometimes feel that the simple pleasure of watching 22 blokes on pitch kicking a football around is now just a small sideshow.

Following football these days is as much about listening to endless debates, the hype surrounding teams and players and controversy after controversy.

Take the racism issue that's reared its ugly head. Ideally I don't want to be talking about racism in football, but the issue refuses to go away.

Rio Ferdinand his brother Anton and the Reading striker Jason Roberts all refused to wear Kick out Racism T-shirts this week in protest at the campaign and the action taken against John Terry by the FA.

It's unfortunate that in the last 18 months we've seen a couple of high profile incidents of racism but I don't think it means we've gone backwards in tackling the problem.

This country can rightly be proud of the efforts made in tackling racism in football. We're light years ahead of countries on the continent particularly those in Eastern Europe. You only have to look at the events in Serbia this week to see that.

Nobody wants to see a return to the 70s and 80s when racism was rife both and off the pitch. There won't be a return to those days as Britain has thankfully moved on as a country.

Football is so consuming these days it feels like the fight against racism matters more in the world of football than elsewhere in society.

Football isn't perfect. If racism exists in football then it's because racism exists in society. Why should football be an exception?

Where's the high profile kick out racism campaigns in other areas of society? How about a kick out racism campaign in law, medicine, Financial services, the Media I could go on.

We know football is big business and gets huge media coverage but lets not put football on a pedestal and expect the game to be above the rest of society.

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