SRtRC Honorary President comments on recent events with racism in football
“Racism is borne out of misunderstanding, and an inherent fear of the misunderstanding. Education is the key to racism’s end."
Shaka Hislop, SRtRC Honorary President
Sean Gallagher, a student writing a dissertation on the topic of ‘how effective anti-racism groups have been within football and society in eradicating racism’, contacted Show Racism the Red Card to see if we could help by putting some of his questions to our Honorary President, Shaka Hislop.
He was interested on Shaka’s opinion on a variety of issues including, what the FA, PFA, UEFA need to do to address the issues of racism and cut it out of football and whether a black players union is a plausible option. Shaka was able to e-mail his response, which we would like to share with you.
“I don’t think a black players union is a plausible solution. I do believe that English football has a strong enough players’ union in the PFA capable of representing the game’s players capably. A black players’ faction with the PFA carries far more merit. Because of the nature of the game too often disputes involving players are against other players, all represented by the same body. That inevitably poses problems, regardless. A black players chapter (shall we call it) I believe will serve to better represent minority players interests and concerns, within the PFA, keeping dialogue in-house, so that when the PFA speaks on matter concerning its minority membership its with a unified voice and truly reflective of the minority players’ concerns.
“I have been particularly critical of FIFA and UEFA in the past in how they deal with racism. The paltry fines do absolutely nothing but inflame those who work tirelessly to rid the game of racism. We can argue all day as to whether larger fines with change a person’s attitude, but the fines don’t force clubs in to being at all proactive, or indeed reactive, in dealing with the issue. They open the petty change draw, pay the fine, and wait for the next time. More upsetting to me is FIFA’s and UEFA’s contradictory behavior. For example, Sepp Blatter and FIFA preach zero tolerance to racism whenever and wherever they can, yet when Kevin Prince Boateng and AC Milan walk off the pitch because of racist chanting he says that the players should have tolerated it, and by walking off they let the racists win. That, for me, does more damage than any fine can repair.
“Racism is borne out of misunderstanding, and an inherent fear of the misunderstanding. Education is the key to racism’s end. And by education I don’t mean that gained in the classroom, I mean that learned by getting to know someone or something that you otherwise won’t. Which is why I believe football and football dressing rooms to be the perfect start, the perfect breeding ground, for a better understanding of the world’s people. Where else can you get people from all four corners of the world in such close proximity, interacting, fighting for the same cause, sharing the same triumphs and defeats? I have learned more about the world in football’s dressing rooms than any amount of travel brochures could have ever taught me. Racism is societal and the worst of it is effected I grass roots football. A very big part of the solution can come from football’s highest levels. Until the players really, truly and fully understand that we will continue to look for others to lead the charge.”
Do you have a question for Shaka? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Ask the President’ as the subject and we’ll put our favourites to him every few months!