Thursday, October 18, 2012

England vs Serbia U21 football match descends into racist anarchy

Ah, the wonderful world of Eastern European football, where the favourite way for supporters to display their passion for their team is by racially abusing black players. That this happened in Serbia is completely unsurprising, but let me also point out that similar incidents have occurred recently in Croatia, Russia, Spain and elsewhere. (This same weekend, the Danish team complained to FIFA about racist chants during their World Cup Qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia, directed at Danish defender Patrick Mtliga, who has Tanzanian heritage.)

England Under-21 star Danny Rose has called on UEFA to ban Serbia after admitting that racist abuse he suffered in Krusevac affected his game. The Tottenham defender, currently on loan at Sunderland, said he had been subjected to monkey taunts long before the violent scenes which marred the end of the Euro 2013 play-off.
Sports minister Hugh Robertson today sent a letter to UEFA president Michel Platini urging tough sanctions from the governing body following the "disgraceful scenes" of racism in Serbia. Rose was sent off after the final whistle for kicking a ball in anger in response to provocation as scuffles broke out involving Serbian supporters, players and other officials.
Rose told Sky Sports News: "I remember getting slapped twice and then I got ushered away. "That's when I kicked the ball - and the referee sent me off. I don't understand, the game had finished by then but he still sent me off for kicking the ball. "As I went off again there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off. "After 60 minutes my head wasn't really on the game. They have to be banned. I don't understand how else they can learn from it, they have to be banned."
Robertson has given his full support to the Football Association, who reported a number of incidents of racism to UEFA. The minister said: "The scenes at the end of the game last night were disgraceful. "I have written to UEFA president Michel Platini, in support of the FA, urging them to investigate immediately. "Racism in any form is unacceptable and must be stamped out. We would expect tough sanctions from UEFA on anyone found guilty of racist abuse." England assistant coach Steve Wigley was caught up in the trouble and was manhandled as he made his way to the tunnel after the game.

Rose said the issues were a culmination of problems which had been brewing throughout the evening at the Mladost Stadium. The 22-year-old added: "It started when we went out for the warm-up. "They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it. "Halfway through the warm-up I went to 'Wigs', the assistant manager, and told him what was happening. "He said I had to try my best to get through it and they would deal with it straight away after the game. "In the first half I went down to get the ball for a throw-in and the fans started again with the monkey chants, but the first half was nowhere near as bad as the second half. "In the second half I had two stones hit me on the head when I went to get the ball for a throw-in. Every time I touched the ball there was monkey chanting again. "After 60 minutes my mind wasn't really on the game after that. I was just so angry and it was just so hard to concentrate. "I could have cost the lads the game because I made a few mistakes through not concentrating. "Then obviously we scored. After 90 minutes' worth of abuse I just expressed my emotions as soon as we scored. "Then the next thing I know all the Serbia players have run over and were all surrounding me, pushing me and a brawl broke out."
Connor Wickham's injury-time strike clinched a 2-0 aggregate success. Sunderland backed their loan player, saying they were "shocked" by what happened in Serbia. Sunderland's chief executive Margaret Byrne said: "As a club we strongly believe that the power of football should be used to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity and there is no place for any form of racism within the game of football and society as a whole. "The scenes in Serbia last night shocked everyone and Sunderland Football Club wholeheartedly backs the Football Association's stance on the matter." [Source]

Of course, despite FIFA's public stance that racism is bad, they will do absolutely nothing about this, apart from uphold Danny Rose's red card for reacting to being called a monkey for 2 hours on end.
The monkey chants are clearly audible in this clip:


  1. I find this very interesting.

    I can understand racist and xenophobic sentiment. However, as the blogger Ask a Korean has pointed out many times, racist sentiment generally only takes off when minorities are numerous or influential enough to threaten the majority group.

    Therefore, what I can't understand is why Serbs, Russians, and other Eastern Europeans display so much racist hostility towards blacks, in light of the fact that there are hardly any black people in those countries.

    I can understand Russians being racist and hostile towards Tajiks or other Central Asian minorities, since they're actually numerous enough to pose a threat.

    But blacks?

    I guess it's similar to Malaysian politicans bashing Jews despite Malaysia not having any Jews worth bashing.

    1. The other reason for racist behaviour of course is similar to what causes bullying; people just getting off on being assholes because it makes them feel good about their otherwise shitty lives.
      I think there are several factors at play here.

      * Eastern European nations do not have a history of oppressing black people like many Western European nations; but consequently they never really developed a sense of white guilt either.
      * Non-white people are still a relatively new phenomenon in Eastern Europe, so in some ways the mentality is similar to that of England about 40 years ago.
      * Life in Eastern Europe is a lot grimmer than Western Europe. There are a lot of young men who don't have a great deal of prospects and need an outlet for their frustration; thus the lure of fascist groups.

      Note that in some of these countries there is still a great deal of anti-Semitic sentiment, and fairly unevolved views toward homosexuality. It's not really about blacks per se. It's about a particular subculture that is looking around for targets to hate and blacks just happen to fit the bill.

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