Football is a beautiful game, and among the major sporting events that have helped unite different people from all over the world. This being one of the only games to be played in all the continents of the world, means that the sport transcends racial, social, economic as well as spiritual backgrounds. This is what is expected in an ideal world. However, this beautiful game of football has not been spared from the ugliness of racism.
We take a look at 3 of the top racism incidents that have shaken the football world.
1 Ivorian defender Marco Andre Zorro abused by Inter Millan fans
On 27th November 2005, while playing for Italian Club Messina against fellow Italian team Inter Millan, Ivorian defender Marco Andre Zorro brought worldwide attention to the issue of racism in football when he attempted to walk out of the pitch with the ball after being taunted with racial slurs by Inter Milan fans. It took the intervention of other players on the pitch from both teams to convince Zoro not to leave the game. Following this incident, the Italian Football Federation introduced strict rules to prevent a repeat of such an incident.
2 The infamous head butt by Zinedine Zidane during the 2006 world cup
Less than a year after the Marco Andre Zorro racism incident, the racism issue affecting Italian football was once again brought to light during the 2006 world cup when Italian defender Marco Materazziwas accused of directing a racial slur towards French striker ZinedineZidanein an incident that resulted in Zidane head butting Materazzi while on the pitch during the game. Whereas Zidane was immediately red carded and dismissed from the game, Materazzi was later banned for two matches after investigations on the incident were concluded.
3 Liverpool striker Luis Suarez racially abuses Man United defender Patrice Evra
On October 15th 2011, Liverpool striker Luis Suares who is of Uruguayan descent was accused of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra who is a French national though of African descent. The incident brought worldwide condemnation including by then Fifa President SeppBlatter and brought the attention of the world to racism incidents in English football. Suarez was subsequently charged by the English Football Association and banned for eight matches.
There are many other racial incidents that have encroached into the football pitch but it’s important to note that they have received heavy condemnation from the football world. Every football fan is in agreement that this beautiful sport must be protected from racism.