SERIOUS action must be taken against deluded football match attenders who attack players with racial slurs.
Supporters? These individuals are not supporting anything.
They are sad, sick people and we must do anything necessary to keep them out of our stadiums.
I would support almost any sanction to prevent it but I do worry the about the method put forward by Fifa president Gianni Infantino, who is preparing the ground for deducting points from any club whose fans brandish racial insults.
Maybe not a sledgehammer this but certainly a poisonous substance. Dabbling with reducing points is dangerous.
Nottingham Forest and Everton (again) are faced with similar actions and Manchester City might too to if, finally, the authorities budge themselves to move on what is said to be more than 100 cases of mysterious something-or-other offences.
Points deductions strike at the very structure of our football.
To cut them from clubs for other reasons bar putting the ball into the net is to hack down the goalposts and replace them with administrators.
As a country, Britain has made substantial progress in equality for all races and sexes.
But still all manner of vile racial behaviour continues to exist.
Take the case of a guy, having watched viewed three of England’s black players miss shootout penalties in the Euro final in 2021, he then sent them despicable racial abuse on his Facebook account.
He got a suspended sentence and had to pay £100 compensation — preposterous bearing in mind his crime would have had a massive impact on the trio representing their country in front of the world and their mental health.
Think, too, of Nazi signals from the terraces or cheers that follow racial taunts. It is a little surprising that no player has followed the examples of ‘coming-among-you byin your face’ Eric Cantona and Eric Dier.
Clubs have worked hard to eliminate thugs and racists from our grounds.
There isn’t one who would disagree with taking strong action and we are all ready with stewards, stand-by police, expulsions, education programmes and bans.
But Infantino should do a white-shoe shuffle and try to reach a different conclusion.
Mine would be, with the greatest regret, to order stadium closure in the event of blatant racism.
Udinese in Serie A are an example. They just banned four fans for life and must play a match behind closed doors after racial abuse was directed at AC Milan goalkeeper Mike Maignan last weekend.
Closed doors are shameful to supporters, rightly, and for the club concerned it costs millions in gate, hospitality and catering revenue — let alone the millions likely to be lost from sponsors.
A far better way to encourage supporters to police each other and clubs to take more action to eliminate the filth in the first place.
Football’s a huge force in many people’s lives, reaching across all backgrounds, all ages and all sectors of life.
It is a game supported by billions, played by millions and, nationally, contributes £7.6BILLION to the wider UK economy, creating more than 94,000 jobs.
Supporters can hiss and boo all they like. Even name-calling is sufferable as long as it isn’t personalised or filthy.
We love football because it’s “the beautiful game” which may be a cliche but sums up the fundamental love that spread from our shores to the rest of the planet.
Like race, sex, and religion, colour mustn’t matter and racism has no place in the game. All players are professionals who deserve our respect.