As giants of football governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA are working endlessly to put measures in place in curbing racism in the round leather game, some top African leaders have in the past spoken about their experiences while falling a victim of the racial abuse. Sharing his encounter in this article is former Ivorian Int’l and Manchester City legend, Yaya Toure.
There are very few footballers in the world today who fall into the same class as Ivory Coast and Manchester City legend, Yaya Toure. He is indeed a true professional and legend of the round leather game, who has brought lots of joy to fans all around the globe.
Sadly, like many other Africans plying their trade outside the shores of the continent, Yaya Toure and his younger brother, Kolo Toure were victims of racial abuse on many occasions during their time abroad. Yaya Toure has come out to accuse top football officials of turning a blind eye to for too long.
The four-time African footballer of the year and a multiple trophy winner in Europe, Yaya Toure while speaking to the issue of racism said football authorities need to be more proactive when handling cases pertaining to racism.
The 35-year-old also accused the top football governing bodies, FIFA and UEFA of trying to fight loose battles and only reacting to incidents that have occurred.
He made the comments while reacting to the racist abuse on British African players in the England national team during their Euro 2020 qualifying match in Montenegro last week.
The Montenegro fans directed racial chants at the black England players including defender Danny Rose and striker Raheem Sterling.
“I think its FIFA and UEFA have to do something stronger.
“They have to give a strong message, maybe to the clubs, or maybe to the fans, because we’ve been seeing recently these kinds of clubs like CSKA Moscow, or teams in Russia… fans have been banned for I don’t know how many games or maybe how many months.
“I don’t know, but it’s still not working. This surprises me.
“[I have experienced it] A lot, a lot. If I can say that, in Belgium, in Russia, and sometimes when we have to travel with the team and play in… maybe in Italy, in the past.
“It’s happening. But mentally, I’m very strong. I know what I can do because, in that time, you can say ‘OK, I will try to ignore [it], they are stupid, they don’t understand’.
“But it’s difficult when you see a child looking, or when you come home and your child has been saying to you, ‘father, when you have been touching the ball, we’ve been hearing on the TV, chanting about monkey things’…;” he said.
Yaya Toure, who was speaking after receiving an award from Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), praised his former Manchester City team-mate Raheem Sterling for his maturity during the match despite the racial chants.
“They (the football authorities) sit and they have their coffee, their wine,” Toure told the Daily Mirror.
“Then they hear a case like Raheem happening and they jump on the phone saying: ‘We have to have a meeting! We have to do something!
“It shouldn’t work that way. We have to be proactive. Something that is seen.
“We have to be working before that kind of situation with Raheem is happening.”
“I was surprised Raheem Sterling stayed so calm.
“He is like my little brother. When you have seen what he has done surely he has to be Footballer of the Year,” he said.
UEFA has however opened disciplinary proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behavior; but many football enthusiasts believe it will all come to nothing as usual.