After a successful evening of stand-up comedy against Racism at City Hall immediately after the Saurez belated apologises on the 13th of Feb, l came away from the event feeling that we need to pinch the issue at its source on the pitch itself.
In recent times, campaigns like Show Racism the Red Card have dealt well with racism in all its forms on the terraces, outside stadiums as well and all its forms old and new like islamophobia & anti-semitism. But recent incidents on the pitch between players tell us its still a very live issue in the dressing room as well. So we can never be complacent about tackling racism, even after the huge progress thats been made in football since the 1980’s.
But with the splat of incidents between players l do think our referees need to deal with it at source, when at earshot of racist remarks, with an immediate red card. Referees may very well have these powers already but we need to see them used and them given very clear instructions by the FA that in such instances the refs will be supported by them.
I well appreciate that refs have got a difficult enough job anyway but my instinct tells me that the biggest sanction against players making racist comments on the pitch would be letting their own team down on the field of play. All the fines, apologises and bans afterwards don’t have the same impact is that to a player.
So l trust that at the summit at Downing Street, showing racism the red card on the field of play, the pitch itself, is a measure thats agreed and acted on immediately.