By Oraldo Kola
Football has been blighted by its fair share of racism incidents in the past year, with many high profile cases. Local Arsenal youngster Emmanuel Frimpong is the latest player to be on the receiving end of racist abuse during his loan spell at Charlton Athletic.
The Premier League has been at the forefront of campaigns against racism but high profile incidents such as the John Terry and Luis Suarez affairs have somewhat undermined the ‘Lets Kick Racism out of Football’ campaign.
During a match against Millwall on the 1st of December, Frimpong and teammate Danny Haynes were subjected to abuse from the stands at the notorious Millwall ground, he told a close friend. This is not the first time that Millwall fans have been accused of racially abusing players; Bolton striker Marvin Sordell was racially abused by a 13 year old boy, forcing Millwall to send the youngster to an equality and racism course.
Ghanaian-born Frimpong went on a one-month loan deal to Charlton and admitted he was shocked at the abuse he suffered. It has been reported that, in a tweet which he later deleted, he described the Millwall fans as “ruthless”.
A close friend of Frimpong’s said that the midfielder was upset at receiving such abuse. “I spoke to him after that match and he was obviously upset but he decided not to take any action as it would only give them more attention,” Endri Gjata said.
AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng recently walked off the pitch after racial abuse was directed at him in a friendly match. Most people condoned his actions but FIFA President Sepp Blatter said that he did not believe that walking off the pitch was the solution.
Some people have suggested that in order to eradicate racism from football, action is needed from the grassroots level. Racism at the grassroots level is rife but the FA has failed to implement any rules which will ensure that racism is dealt with appropriately.
Nsasa Mfuka is a black coach of local football club, Chettle Court Rangers, who are based in the heart of north London. Mr Mfuka believes that more action is needed not only from the FA but also from teams themselves: “I think teams need to educate their players better, there’s only so much the FA can do,” he said
Mr Mfuka went on to say that he hopes that tougher sanctions are put in place for players and fans that are charged with racial abuse.
“I hope people who are caught racially abusing someone are punished properly, what happened with the Luis Suarez case is just a joke!” he said.
It would be fair to say that the football authorities are being too lenient with clubs and players who are caught racially abusing someone. A prime example of this is the way FIFA has dealt with Serbia, who has had numerous racism charges brought against them. In an U-21 fixture, Serbian players and fans were seen to be racially abusing several English players. FIFA however have failed to really dish out severe punishment which can act as a real deterrent to future offenders.