Over the recent years, the eradication of racism in soccer in France and other European countries became the priority of the UEFA activities. The European football union does its best and resort to every possibility to struggle with the problem. Governments provide huge financial support, organize events and distribute publications calling for complete rejection of any form of racism. At first sight, it can be argued that the problem of racism is rather self-sufficient and will disappear in time, with the increasing impact of globalization urging people to dispose of racial prejudices. However, the problem of racism appears to be situated not merely in fans' attitude and preferences regarding clubs and players, but rather in the established and deeply rooted preconceived attitudes that have been imposed by society from time immemorial. Indeed, it has always been hard to imagine life without the possibility of comparing people according to various features, such as skin color or religious belonging, which has not disregarded the modern world of soccer as well.
Before the soccer match that took place in Paris last year between the clubs of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain, London fans prevented a dark-skinned French lad from sharing a subway car with them, which was accompanied by racist slogans (Sonntag, Ranc 26-31). At the moment when the passenger of African origin was about to enter the metro at Richelieu-Drouot station, the fans who supported their team on departure that was getting to the station of Exelmans, which was the nearest one to Parc des Princes, pushed the French guy from the exit. When a black-skinned woman who was standing near the place of the incident was astonished by the action, the fans cried that they were racists and they liked it.
After the incident that was recorded on the video, the world community quickly focused on Chelsea F.C. and its supporters, though the club itself is not expected to remove such outrageous issues from the agenda and attempts to do its best to punish the guilty. Moreover, the club used the held match with Burnley F.C. to clearly emphasize its involvement with the following demarches, which evidently demonstrates the antifascist position of Chelsea F.C (Chakraborti, Garland 135-138).
Indeed, this is just one of the myriads of examples that characterize the modern world of soccer fans. While watching such incidents, it can be stated that all happening does not differ from the accustomed escapades of English fans who do not betray their somewhat complacent manner, thus losing sense under the influence of alcohol. The fans who pushed the passenger named Souleymane Sylla and did not allow him to go by blocking the passage, as well as those who just accompanied the events by outcries were represented by no more than 10 persons. The same incident demonstrates the actual desire of the fans to attract attention to themselves, though all of them were quite aware of the possible subsequent punishment for their crimes. The incident in Paris, however, differs from rampage which was accustomed for 1980s, as well as from the escapades of fan gangs who appear part of hooligan culture called "firms". This time, a clearly racist incident such as that represents a foolish step made by the group of audacious people. Furthermore, a similar racist atmosphere remained at the moment when the English fans got to London's St Pancras, after which there began the search of the three men who could be connected with the incident (Layton Pacey. 44-46).
Furthermore, France's uneasy immigration policy over the last decade became a certain opposition towards soccer and now seems to contribute to the acute racist problem. In turn, many Parisian ghetto-suburbs host masses of young Algerian and African players who mock French national anthem that is always played at international games. Likewise, the year of 2010 witnessed a vivid confrontation when the French team, which consisted mainly of African players, openly clashed with their coach and even went on strike in solidarity with Nicola Anelka who was sent home by Raymon Domenech due to insults, which most of the fans would find relevant, though (Bar-On 160-161). As a result, the team did not win any game and this provoked a national crisis, thus urging French government to establish a commission and conduct an investigation. Moreover, after several months there emerged another scandal when Laurent Blanc, the new French coach, advocated the introduction of quotas regarding the number of Algerian and African football players in Saint Germain Academy, and also called for paying more attention to native players.
At the same time, France and England are not the only countries that host the acute racist moods. Though these are one of the most popular places of European matches, Poland and Ukraine prove even more favorable playgrounds for fans' escapades. With that, however, Polish and Ukrainian governments claim that the majority of the EU countries appear to stand far ahead Ukraine and Poland according to the overall level of racism (Redhead 4-9). Particularly, Ukraine does not witness ethnic confrontations on the streets but rather tends to accumulate the racial hatred during sport matches. Countries like Poland and Ukraine are not characterized by events that usually take place in Paris or London where racist collisions sometimes outgrow into a similarity of civil war.
Of course, all these statements are not written with a view to diminishing the severity of racist incidents that permeate the modern world of soccer or protecting fans who are engaged in such acts, since nothing of what they did can be justified. Indeed, as stated by many French football players like Lilian Thuram, the problem of racism takes place not only during soccer matches per se, but also outside sport life (Lilian Thuram 2014). Hence, we talk about racism as if it existed only at stadia, though it is undeniable that it exists in society. To fight with the problem, the first thing to do is to realize that racism appears part of our culture. Unfortunately, some think that the modern problem of racism is not so much topical. With that, it is more likely that people who represent such opinions simply lack courage to admit the existence of the thing. Thus, the key to eradicating the problem of racism lies in dwelling on our own history in order to destroy the existing prejudices.
While criticizing such racist moods that corrupt the world of European football, there should be noted the positions of clubs and their fans. At the same time, the presidents of clubs, fans, as well as football players who are known for their open insults towards black-skinned players were never duly punished. Fans continue to sit on tribunes, football players are still the captains of national teams, and presidents do head clubs and sometimes even manage to occupy ministerial post. No doubt every country should act against such gruesome acts; however, the primary thing to do is to start restore order at our own home.
Bar-On, Tamir. The World through Soccer: The Cultural Impact of a Global Sport. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014. 160-161. Print.
Chakraborti, Neil, and Jon Garland. Hate Crime: Impact, Causes and Responses. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2009. 135-138. Print.
"Lilian Thuram on Tackling Racism, Politics, Slavery and the World Cup." Euronews. 6 June 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2016. <http://www.euronews.com/2014/06/06/lilian-thuram-on- tackling-racism-politics-slavery-and-the-world-cup/>.
Layton, Michael, and Alan Pacey. Tracking the Hooligans: The History of Football Violence on the UK Rail Network. Amberley Limited, 2016. 44-46. Print.
Redhead, Steve. Football and Accelerated Culture: This Modern Sporting Life. Routledge, 2015. 4-9. Print.
Sonntag, Albrecht, and David Ranc. Colour? What Colour?: Report on the Fight against Discrimination and Racism in Football. UNESCO, 2015. 26-31. Print.