Show Racism the Red Card interviewed Jonas Olsson, Swedish international and West Bromwich Albion defender.
Jonas shared his views on living in a multicultural society, as well his views on the increasing anti-Muslim sentiment that is present in society today:
"I come from a town in the south of Sweden, called Landskrona, which is maybe the most multicultural city in Sweden. I especially saw this diversity in my football team growing up, as we had many people from Arab countries and the Balkans – there was a big mix and I had friends from all over the world there.
That is one of things I like most about football; you get lots of different nationalities and you can experience bits of cultures from around the world. Football is such a great game because it brings people together and in football you speak the same language whether you are from Sweden, Africa or America...
...When I played in Sweden and Holland we had many Muslims in the teams. I think in football, or at least in the teams I have played in, you don’t really think about it – they are just colleagues and friends and that is the way it should be. You respect each other and whether somebody has the same or different religion to you is not an issue – it really isn’t something that is important."
He also talked about fellow Swede Anton Hysen (the world's only openly gay professional footballer), with this to say:
"...When he was in the Swedish press, I think most took the view of football being a very macho environment as the main reason for why he is the only current player to have come out.
I think that people sometimes get it wrong when they look from the outside and judge how we are in the sport. I think that, in terms of accepting different cultures and people, football is leading society but there is work to be done of course.
Just look at our dressing room [at West Brom], we have 20 different nationalities getting along well, so I think it is wrong when some say dressing rooms aren’t, or won’t be, respectful about people being different, whether it is about differing sexual orientation or religious beliefs. I think there would be no problem in general."
To read the full interview, head over to our Players' Views section here.
With special thanks to West Bromwich Albion FC for arranging the interview, and to Brendan Simpson for the transcription.