The world of soccer is still in shock after a video of Chelsea fans allegedly abusing a black Parisian by blocking his entry onto a train in the French capital went viral.
The clip also showed these supporters singing, “We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it.” You can check out the harrowing video, courtesy of the Guardian, below.
According to the BBC, UK police have now confirmed that they will be carefully examining the video footage as they look to prosecute those involved. Chelsea have also issued a statement condemning the attacks.
Meanwhile Chelsea fans who were at the game have come out and insisted that it was an isolated incident. One Chelsea fan who was at the game in Paris told the BBC that this was a rare occurrence. Another, who was on the carriage, insisted that the man wasn’t let on the train because he was a Paris Saint-Germain fan, not because he was black.
We’ll probably never know how the incident really unfolded. What is clear is that this group of Chelsea fans were also caught singing songs about World War II and then after they refused to let the man onto the carriage immediately embarked on a chorus of, “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”
Their actions are obviously deplorable and they should be banned from going to soccer matches permanently.
This story will now spread across the world and people will assume that soccer is still rife with racism. But this incident, instigated by a small minority of Chelsea fans, doesn’t sum up everyone who follows the Stamford Bridge outfit, or anyone who is passionate about soccer. To associate and group everyone together like that would be ignorant.
Yes, Chelsea have had issues with racism in the past. Their captain John Terry was found guilty of using racist language as recently as 2012.
Like every sport, or anything with a rabid fan-base, there are always idiots involved. And the fact that over the last 30 years English soccer has dramatically moved away from the working class roots that used to sum up the game means that a miniature gaggle of fans are always looking for more violent and extremist ways to prove that they’re “true” soccer fans, which was previously epitomized by hooliganism.
Back in 1985, racism in soccer was rife. Players like John Barnes were roundly targeted with sickening chants. In fact, there’s a famous image of Barnes back-heeling a banana off the pitch after it had been thrown from the stands at him.
The English game has managed to move on from these depressingly regular scenarios.
And the condemnation and shock that has greeted this clip is proof that soccer stands in the country are a much more serene and welcoming place. Not everything is perfect, and more can be done to stop racism from being prevalent. FIFA needs to employ harder sanctions to clubs whose fans are found guilty of such abuse, while clubs should clamp down harder on their own fans who produce sickening chants.
But eradicating all of these racist morons is impossible. All we can do is find them, prosecute them, highlight their idiocy and make sure younger fans learn why they’re wrong. The fact that they are now only the minority is hardly a celebration, but it’s a start and a norm that needs to continue.
In other news, Chelsea drew with Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 in the first leg of the Champions League last sixteen encounter on Tuesday evening.
[Images via the Guardian/Telegraph]