Target: UEFA President Michel Platini
Goal: To commend player Kevin-Prince Boateng for walking off the field after suffering racist insults from fans and to obtain stricter sanctions for soccer clubs that tolerate racism.
AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng must be commended for being the first soccer player to cause a game to be ended due to racist abuse. After suffering from racial abuse thrown at him by fans of the home side, Pro Patria, in the first 25 minutes of a match, Boateng kicked a ball at the offending fans and then stormed off the field. The captain of AC Milan, Massimo Ambrosini, then instructed the rest of his team to walk off the field in a show of support for Boateng.
Soccer’s governing body, UEFA, has long been criticized for its failure to take a tougher stand against racism. Last summer during the European Championship, UEFA even threatened to fine or suspend players who walked off the field in response to racist chants. UEFA and representatives for Italian soccer must take immediate action against racist fans and soccer clubs who allow racism in their stands. New, tough sanctions must be enforced against clubs where racist chants and slurs occur. Fans must also be banned from attending games if they abuse players on the field. Only through tough action by soccer’s governing body can real change occur. So far, clubs have not done much in way of changing the conversation.
Thanks to the actions of Kevin-Prince Boateng and his teammates on AC Milan the conversation about racism in soccer may finally take a meaningful turn. Hopefully the drastic actions taken by these athletes will not go unnoticed by the UEFA and Italian authorities so that future racist acts may be avoided through legislation and sanctions.
Dear Michel Platini,
The recent racist, verbal assaults against Kevin-Prince Boateng and members of AC Milan have indicated a turning point in the conversation about racism in soccer. Incidences of racism have become commonplace in your sport and it is important that you take this opportunity to put in place harsher punishments against fans and clubs that tolerate racism. By enforcing stricter regulations, soccer across the world can become a safer, more enjoyable sport as well as a figurehead in the fight against racism.
The actions of Kevin-Prince Boateng and his teammates must not be ignored. Take action now so that the reputation of soccer is not damaged further. Hopefully drastic actions such as abandoning a game due to racism will not occur in the future.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: kartellpeople via Flickr