A new viral video of West Ham supporters chanting anti-Semitic chants on their way to the Saturday’s match against Manchester United, the club decided to hand out lifetime bans to those identified in the video.
Football has seen its fair share of racist abuses and incidents, with the most recent one taking place on Saturday, when a video of West Ham fans singing an abusive song about their rivals surfaced online. The incident took place on April 13th when West Ham fans travelled to Manchester, where the two teams meet in the 34th round of the EPL.
With a long ride to their destination, West Ham fans decided to shorten their ride by singing and chanting as it’s expected from football supporters. While singing and chanting are completely normal, there is an issue when those songs and chants turn anti-Semitic. Sadly for them, the incident was recorded and put online for everyone to see, which includes West Ham.
Shortly after the video of the racist chants surfaced on the social media, West Ham replied with a statement, which read:
“We are disgusted by the contents of the video circulating on social media this evening. We are taking immediate action to try to identify the offenders, whose details we will be handing over to the police and will be banned for life from London Stadium and from travelling with the club.”
“West Ham United is unequivocal in its stance – there is no place for this kind of behaviour at our club. We do not want people like this associated with West Ham United. They are not welcome at our club, they are not welcome in civilised society.”
It was not only West Ham that responded to the incident. The organization Kick It Out, which leads a campaign of equality in football and fights racism released a statement supporting West Ham. In a Tweet they stated:
“We received a report of a video of a group of West Ham fans chanting vile antisemitic abuse today. We welcome the swift and positive response of @WestHamUtd and support the club’s determination to ban the perpetrators.”
A rather quick response to the incident and the consequences that will hit the offenders does send a strong message to the world; Racism and any other discrimination are not welcome in the sports world.
While this incident and the decision of West Ham to ban the offenders for life is one of the most talked about, there are other teams who have done their part in fighting racism. Chelsea have denied entrance to 3 individuals in the match against Slavia Prague due to a video of them singing racist chants about Mohamed Salah. Additionally, Arsenal addressed the racist chants of their supporters against Napoli player Koulibaly and stated the offenders will suffer a life ban.
Sadly those incidents are not lone examples of rising racism in the football world, which was addressed by FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who urged everyone to adopt a zero-tolerance approach. His statement read:
“In recent days, it has been very sad to see a number of racist incidents in football. This is really not acceptable. Racism has no place in football, just as it has no place in society either.
“FIFA stands together with Prince Gouano, Kalidou Koulibaly, Raheem Sterling, Danny Rose, as well as any other player, coach, fan or participant in a football match who has suffered from racism, whether at the highest professional level or in a school playground. Racism needs to end. Full stop. We introduced the so-called ‘three-step procedure’ at our tournaments: a mechanism that allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents.
“FIFA urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt the same procedure, as well as a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism in football, and to apply harsh sanctions for any such kind of behaviour.”
The steps to right direction have been made, but as far as getting read of discrimination all together goes, it still seems like we are far from it.