Media reports about FIFA's alleged inaction over display of racism by "blackface" fans kick up a storm

news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | June 25, 2014 | 6.12 pm IST

World Cup 2014 will be remembered as much for who wins, as for the circumstances under which the tournament was held. 

For more than a year the host country Brazil has seen protests. This time, the protests are coming from observers who have alleged inaction on the part of FIFA towards fans who are behaving in what has been called a racist manner.

The recent incidents of fans wearing a blackface to matches in this year’s football world cup, has raised questions on the otherwise strictly regulated operations of the tournament by FIFA. 

According to an Al Jazeera report, during the match between France and Switzerland last week, three fans supporting France came to the game with their faces painted in black. This was allegedly done to “mock the Afro-Brazilian and Caribbean religion, Candomblé.”

FIFA retorted by saying that they have zero tolerance rules towards such discriminatory attitudes. Its disciplinary committee would look into the matter and take appropriate actions. 

A report in The Guardian quoted a FIFA spokeswoman as saying, “We always take any evidence or submissions to our disciplinary committee. It is the disciplinary committee that will meet. If they see any grounds they will open proceedings. Then it is up to the disciplinary commission to take the decision.”

Ghana’s match against Germany on Saturday also saw German fans with black faces. Selma_slim, an Instagram user, later uploaded a picture of two white men with faces covered with black colour. He also alleges people were lining up to take pictures with them, leave alone feel offended. (Link to his post in Instagram)

FIFA has a set of stringent guidelines that fans need to abide by during the matches. It strictly condemns all sorts of discrimination in football. 

Discrimination, however, is not new to the tournament, nor was the ‘blackface’ issue a sole one. 

Also during the June 21 match between Ghana and Germany, a Neo Nazi fan took the field with messages scribbled across his chest, reported Yahoo

In the past two months, two separate yet disturbing incidents of fans throwing bananas at football players during matches also came up. In one, Dani Alvez from Brazil, humoured it, and ate the banana thrown at him. The fan was later banned for life from the stadium.

Sports unite people, they say. This, however, points to a very disturbing fad which needs to be nipped in the bud.

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