In last week's Have Your Say FIFA.com opened up a very sensitive debate on its six language channels, asking the question, How would you put a stop to racism? And the site’s users responded to the challenge, analysing a social ill that also affects football and putting forward their suggestions and ideas for eradicating it once and for all.
Writing to us from the USA, Froboy96 reflected on the absurdity of racist attitudes in football: “Football teams that are mixed with different racial backgrounds show others how well a team can play together. Barça are a decent example, considering that there are a few different races in that team. Football internationals with different countries and clubs have been doing a good job trading all over the world with people of different races and national backgrounds in a game showing that we're all equals in life, and in the game. I've personally always viewed this sport as a way for peace, love, and even anti-discrimination.”
In the eyes of many of our Spanish-speaking readers, education is a key tool in tackling racism and discrimination at their source. “It’s a question of education and moral values, which we have to learn from our parents,” said rodri-gd from Argentina.
“It all starts at home. We have to educate our children and set an example for them, not just tell them what they should do,” added AMERICA1979, writing from Colombia, while their compatriot narcista52 made this personal commitment to the cause: “The best places to beat racism are in the home and at school, which is where children start to interact with society. I’m studying to become a teacher and when I start working I’m going to do my bit to ensure there’s no more discrimination.”
Taking a similar view, dahoulaid of Algeria had this to say: “It’s an issue that needs to be tackled straightaway at football academies.”
Other readers spoke about the measures that need to be adopted at sports stadiums: “An announcement should be made warning people of the consequences of racism,” suggested Eniotna49fabrizio, who then proposed some radical ideas for tackling the problem. “Racists should be punished with a fine or even ejection from the stadium, and though it might not be very fair, I think teams with racist fans should have points deducted. That might make clubs do something. You could even punish them by making them play without foreign players the following week.”
Brazilian user xandy999 said they felt discrimination was an issue that concerned everyone and encouraged people to get involved: “I urge any fan who sees a racist act to report it immediately to the authorities.” Fellow Brazilian cleobarreto had this to say: “I feel sorry for people who can’t accept that others are different. To my mind they’re ill, their soul is sick. We’re united because unity brings peace.”
Expressing a view from Germany, brucelee90 suggested raising awareness further inside the stadiums: “A speech should be made before every game, whether it’s a friendly or a World Cup match. Sooner or later the message will get through to these people.”
User 597915464, who hails from Saudi Arabia, pointed to the power of advertising: “I don’t like racism and I only focus on the people on the pitch. I think an advertisement showing the best players in the world, of all races, should be made, with a slogan that reads: ‘Together we can beat it. Say no to racism’.”
Finally, enYusste11 of Lithuania expressed faith in football’s ability to overcome racism once and for all: “It’s difficult but football can change this situation. We need to focus our efforts on young children and make it clear to them that we are all equal and that we have no right to discriminate. We have to come up with global projects and show people that it’s not good to be racist.”
We at FIFA.com would like to thank everyone who took part in the debate for their contributions, which revealed once more just how socially aware our readers are. We will be giving you another burning issue to discuss this Tuesday, so make sure you check in at Have Your Say and share your views across with your fellow users from across the globe.