Officials Must Look at Themselves in Evra/Suarez Racism Case
The Liverpool v Manchester United encounter proved to be mighty fine example of the contrasting sides of football, the light and the dark, as well as they joy and the pain.
The thrall of two great rivals such as United and Liverpool, both resurgent in form and personnel of late will perhaps only be bettered when United take on City with three games remaining of the season; a game which could not only be a title decider but a nod to who will rise above their fierce rivals and claim the greatest prize in English football as the football betting favourites to lead the way for season to come.
But there was a sinister undertone, a bitter taste in the mouth, left not by accusations of racism but the actions of officials charged with flushing cancerous issues like this from the game.
Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive, has stepped into act as mediator after United full-back Patrice Evra accused Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of racial abuse during the game on Saturday.
Taylor sagely added he had performed a similar role before and would hope to do so again, before he blew his saintly act out the water with this telling remark.
“It’s good to get this put behind us as quickly as possible instead of letting these things fester and become blown up again.”
It’s good to put this behind us as quickly as possible, Gordon? Is it? Or is it good to get to the bottom of the issue, expose any guilty party and let the glare of the spotlight placed upon them by their ignorance burn away.
The laissez faire attitude of Taylor to the issue is indicative of an endemic problem in English football; namely the “we are better than most others in Europe for racist incidents so will tolerate relatively minor incidence if seen to be doing and saying the right things.”
Liverpool have called for Evra to be suspended if his allegations prove incorrect. While the sentiment is fair enough, it would create an environment where players that have been racially abused by fellow professionals would be hesitant to expose them for fear of being banned themselves if they video evidence proves inconclusive.
Sky Sports have already said their cameras missed the incident on Saturday and still an enraged Evra insists he will continue with his allegations against Suarez with the full support of Sir Alex Ferguson – something has got the Frenchman riled, but if the cameras didn’t catch it does that mean it didn’t happen and he should be banned?
The approach from both officials from the PFA and Liverpool are telling of how English football operates, the sweep under the carpet and the turn a blind eye with a generic faintly damning statement if it looks like something that might affect the English game’s stance on the highest of high moral high grounds.
Of course it would be wrong to suggest that England hasn’t progressed and moved on with racism in football since the eighties say, but now is the time to drown and suffocate the last dying embers, to remove this seemingly indifferent attitude with proactive punishments and a strong stance.
No more statements and initiatives, just a hardline stance that will send a clear message to all – deduct points, ban home supporters at games, whatever is needed to snuff out football’s vile illness. The Evra/Suarez case looks set to rumble onwards, but if nothing else it has highlighted one clear fact – English football has yet to clear the final hurdle of racism.
Written By Pete South