The Independent London Newspaper

A 96-point plan to beat racism? Here’s one idea!

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Tony Dallas talks sport … and  he knows what he’s talking about

Published: 14 February, 2013

CHOOSING this week’s talking points was difficult. As a Spurs fan I want to start by wishing Paul Gascoigne luck in his battle against mental health, drug and alcohol problems. I call again for clubs to make sure that the proper instruction is given to every player on the dangers such fame and fortune can bring.

I also wanted to discuss the match-fixing allegations levelled at the sport and ask if anyone is surprised? All of us can think back to a decision that just didn’t make any sense. Own-goals, red cards, penalties, goals scored or not.   And when you have people who bet thousands on how many drops of water will fall after a tap has been turned off, it stands to reason that a 90-plus minute football match is a gambler’s picnic area.

But perhaps my biggest talking point came after I watched a Sky Sports special report on racism in football, a subject I have written about on a number of occasions here.

Because I have written about it before I deliberated whether to broach the subject yet again! During a Millwall -v- Leeds game in December Sky filmed 56 racist chants aimed primarily at Leeds player El Hadji Diouf. The film showed Diouf complaining to the referee but when he was asked by the programme to comment he declined.

Stranger still, a Mail Online article about the incident was written, published and withdrawn the very same day. Why?

Millwall complained. Their official website claimed they’d talked to the player who confirmed that he did not receive any racial abuse and had no complaint to make. If you get a chance to see the footage, like me, you’ll wonder what forces could possibly make that happen?

I deduced that in my own reluctance to broach the subject again I was possibly experiencing a tiny amount of the pressure that some black and Asian footballers do when asked to comment.

Nobody really wants to be seen or heard continually complaining and, seemingly, it doesn’t seem to make any difference to the rule-makers if we do.
However, it’s our duty continually to  highlight the problem in order to find ways of curing it; otherwise how does anything change?

The FA and the government have a 96-point plan. I only have one.

If everyone from the stewards, the police, the surveillance teams, the FA, the general public and the fans do their job properly, we will conquer racism.

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