The 21-year-old is not a stranger to racism and was once pelted with bananas in a Rome bar before the European Under-21 Championships in June 2009. “It was lucky that the police arrived quickly because, I swear, I would have beaten them. I would have really destroyed them. I hope it never happens again.” He has been the victim of racist abuse on several occasions – most recently in February when Porto were fined over the behaviour of their supporters in a Europa League tie against City.
The BBC aired a depressing documentary a couple of nights ago about racism in Poland and Ukraine (the Euro 2012 host nations). There were monkey chants at black players in Poland, and almost every Ukrainian football stadium they went to had whole sections of crowds doing Nazi salutes. The worst part was a clip showing Asian football fans being attacked by fans of the same team as them, simply for showing up to a game.
UEFA’s official stance is that there will be zero tolerance for any racism that occurs during the tournament, but it’s difficult to see if they will actually do anything to challenge it. Not wanting to see anyone get killed, I’m interested to see how Balotelli would react to something like this, and whether the authorities would actually do anything to help him. While we can question UEFA’s motives in allowing the tournament to take place in countries with such problems, the showcase presents an opportunity for these issues to be out in the open, and any incidents that do happen will be broadcasted across Europe and the World. Poland, Ukraine, and UEFA have a huge responsibility to ensure there is protection for black and non-white players, players’ families, and traveling fans, with appropriate punishment for those who cross the line.
They came in armoured vehicles and there were some tanks. They shot five bullets through the door of our house. They said they wanted Aref and Shawki, my father and my brother. They then asked about my uncle, Abu Haidar. They also knew his name.
My mum yelled at them. She asked: ‘What do you want from my husband and son?’ A bald man with a beard shot her with a machine gun from the neck down. Then they killed my sister, Rasha, with the same gun. She was five years old. Then they shot my brother Nader in the head and in the back. I saw his soul leave his body in front of me.
They shot at me, but the bullet passed me and I wasn’t hit. I was shaking so much I thought they would notice me. I put blood on my face to make them think I’m dead.
WHY IS THERE NO OUTRAGE?! There needs to be action from our governments, there needs to be some defense for these INNOCENT CIVILIANS. There is a massacre, children are running for their lives, and I do not believe this is at the forefront of the news as much as it could be. What can we do to help those in Syria?