Events in Paris shows that the fight against racism in football is an ongoing war
The footage that has emerged of a group of ‘Chelsea’ fans chanting racist abuse and stopping a black man from boarding a train on the Paris metro has rightly been met with outrage.
But for video footage emerging the incident wouldn’t have been captured or received any media coverage.
Unfortunately many clubs still do have a racist element supporting them.
It might not be as wide-spread as in the 1970s and 1980s, but a tour of You Tube videos posted by fans of various clubs shows that it still exists.
Some of the racist comments posted under some of these videos are even more vile than the content.
Racism remains a difficult area for football clubs to tackle.
Yes, they can ban any fans caught making racist chants, comments or those that have been convicted by the courts.
This what Chelsea Football Club has promised in the statement they have released following the Paris metro incident.
‘Such behaviour is abhorrent and has no place in football or society. We will support any criminal action against those involved in such behaviour, and should evidence point to the involvement of Chelsea season ticket holders or members the club will take the strongest possible action against them including banning orders.’
But clubs can’t vet every fan on their attitudes and beliefs before selling them a ticket – grounds would be empty if they did!
The efforts of Kick It Out and initiatives by the clubs themselves in this country have been hugely beneficial.
FIFA and UEFA for all their rhetoric have been less than convincing in tackling racism in football that exists in many parts of the world.
As we saw in Paris last night though there will always be an unsavoury element that attach themselves to football clubs.
Racism is an ongoing societal issue.
Football clubs and authorities alone won’t stop people having racist beliefs.
But they can continue to take appropriate action to ban fans who are caught taking part in racist behaviour, and to ensure they support the prosecution of those involved.
And unacceptable behaviour more generally.
Crystal Palace have also had to issue a statement this week about coin-throwing at their last two home matches.
“We have conducted our own investigation into the incidents at our last two home matches, as well as making our CCTV footage available to the police.
“We take a zero tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour and, if the perpetrators are identified, they will be banned indefinitely from the stadium.
“If they are season ticket holders their cards will be made void without a refund.”
It added: “The stupid behaviour of a few supporters risks creating a negative image of our club and we would appreciate the help of Palace fans in identifying the culprits, who are not welcome at Selhurst Park.
“The club already has extensive security measures in place, including body cameras for stewards, and will continue to improve CCTV coverage at the ground.”