Racism has a long and inglorious history in English football. The time for its eradication is long overdue.
The courts will have to decide in the New Year on the allegation that Chelsea and England’s captain John Terry racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand at the teams’ match in October.
If he’s found guilty it will leave the Football Association with the mother of all decisions. It will have to consider a similar draconian punishment to that it has just dealt Liverpool’s Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez – an 8-match ban and a £40,000 fine – having found him guilty of much the same offence.
This time Manchester United’s Senegalese-born French defender Patrice Evra was the alleged target of racial abuse at a game also back in October.Their confrontation is pictured above.
Terry continues to protest his innocence and must be presumed so unless shown otherwise.
The FA tribunal didn’t accept the explanation by Suarez, who has a mixed race family background, that cultural differences appeared to give some of his verbals with Evra a racist slant when none was intended.
The length of the ban has something of the over-zealous swing of the pendulum about it and might yet be reduced by a couple of games on appeal. There may also be a dig at Sep Blatter. The FIFA chief who is no friend of English football got into hot water recently when advocating a softly-softly approach to racial abuse on the pitch.
The FA is right to set its standard on the high moral ground but it’s difficult territory to patrol. How long, for example, can it continue to turn a deaf ear to the poisonous football chants on the terraces?