Racism dogs FIFA World Cup

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AFRICANS always make the fatal mistake to think that white racism against us is only practised in the political arena.
The fact of the matter is whenever and wherever a whiteman and blackman come into contact and contest for space, resources, power and influence, the whiteman, given a chance, will always use racism as a devilish tool to overcome the so-called ‘black danger’ and advance his selfish interests.
Which brings the present FIFA World Cup tournament presently underway in Brazil into the spotlight.
We have seen some wonderful football in Brazil and witnessed some very absorbing games.
So far, no one can complain, as far as the football on the pitch is concerned. However, it is not the football on the pitch that we are going to discuss in this article which will be focused on the present World Cup in Brazil and other World Cups before it.
It is the racism against black African teams that we are going to focus on.
It is our submission that there is and has always been white racism against African teams associated with World Cups and that the Confederation of African Football (CAF) led by Issa Hayatoumust fight it to the bitter end to stop it.
The sad thing we have seen when racism has been practised against African teams at World Cups is that African writers, journalists, commentators, administrators etc, instead of calling a spade a spade and say African teams have been short changed purely on racist grounds, repeat the ‘Uncle Tom’ nonsense, that African teams ‘are not yet there’, a slogan invented by Europeans.
Colonialism taught the African always to blame himself even where he is wronged by the colonial master.
Let us look briefly at the World Cup history and how big it is now to put the matter into context.
The FIFA World Cup referred to simply as the World Cup is an international football competition contested by men’s teams of members of the Federation International de Football Association (FIFA) the sport governing body. It is currently led by Sepp Blatter. The tournament has been held every four years since the first one in 1930, except for 1942 and 1946 because of the Second World War.
The inaugural edition of the FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay and since then, the World Cup has been held in 19 other countries across the world.
The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world with a viewership of around 27 billion during the whole tournament which usually lasts a month.
This means about five times the population of the world watch the World Cup.
Even the Summer Olympics does not even dream of bringing the number of people to its event like the crowds the FIFA World Cup attracts.
Furthermore, the World Cup is the biggest money spinner of all sports tournaments.
In short, the World Cup is massive and the stakes are very high, which makes it highly attractive to Westerners who want to own it perpetually while other nations such as Africans pick up the scraps.
With high stakes always comes racism whenever Westerners are involved.
African nations are considered a real danger to European interests at the World Cup because Africa possess the best soccer talent in the world and because of that they are always targeted by Western racists.
Now let us come to our assertion that African teams at World Cups have always been given a raw deal as we look at the issue of referees.
The referee is a very important figure as far as the outcome of a game is concerned. Referees decide results of games in two ways, incompetence, or outright bias. Some people argue that at a tournament such as the World Cup finals maybe more than a quarter of the results of 50-50 games are due to the decisions of referees either through incompetence or outright bias.
Now African teams do not have African referees at World Cups, except one or two.
European referees dominate.
African referees are not at World Cups because they are ‘bad’.
No.
This is all due to racism.
We have seen shocking refereeing from European officials which makes one wonder how they ever got to the World Cup in the first place.
In the World Cup in Germany in 2006 for example, an English referee had to be sent home for very poor officiating.
At this year’s World Cup, we have seen terrible officiating by European referees, but they are kept because FIFA which is dominated by whites appoints referees.
The European referees dominate the World Cups to safeguard European interests. And it is our contention that African referees are being left out at World Cup tournaments to make sure African teams are never given a chance in 50-50 situations.
Just listen to what Africa’s player of the year, Yaya Toure, says concerning the daylight robbery that was committed by a European referee against Ivory Coast in their game with Greece at this World Cup.
Greece was awarded a dubious penalty in the dying minutes of the game which Ivory Coast dominated.
“I desperately wanted the referee to spot the simulation of Samaras (Greek player). Once again the refereeing was not on our side,” said Toure.
“We had at least two penalties turned down during our game against Japan.
“And this time one is invented against Greece.
“Who really cares about the injustices of an African team?
“It is a scandal that unfortunately does not seem to bother many people.”
If we further analyse the performance of African teams at this World Cup, no one can say Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast did not match the European teams toe to toe.
But as often happens, Africans are never given a chance.
Take the game between Nigeria and France.
Early in the game, a Nigerian player ‘Emenike’ was ruled offside when he scored yet the replay showed he was totally in line with a French defender.
And the horror of horrors in the same game, Nigeria’s Peter Odemingwe was wrestled ‘WWE style’ by France’s Patrice Evra in the penalty box, but there was no penalty.
Now if Nigeria had been allowed these two chances in the game they dominated, who says they were not going to win the game and advance to the quarter finals? Let us again take what happened to Ghana in the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010.
Uruguay’s Luis Suarez scooped the ball from the Uruguayan goal after it had crossed the line.
But Ghana was denied the goal.
People were quick to say Ghana was robbed by Suarez.
No.
Ghana were robbed by the referee.
Instead of the referee awarding a goal to Ghana, he instead awarded a penalty kick and the rest is history.
European referees will always look for excuses to deny African teams at the World Cup a chance to progress to the final.
It is in their DNA.
We must never forget what is now known as the ‘great Gijon Scandal’ where two European nations, Germany and Austria colluded to have an African team Algeria booted out of the World Cup in 1982 by turning their game into a complete farce.
In that game when Germany had scored the single goal they needed to go through, they then colluded with their opponents Austria to simply go through the motions without the two European nations playing any serious football so that in the end Algeria went out of the tournament on goal difference.
Have you ever wondered why European referees can officiate when European teams are playing each other or a European team is playing another from another continent, but African referees are never allowed to officiate where an African team is playing?
Anti-African racism in football is still rife.
For example, currently nations like England are attacking the FIFA leadership for receiving bribes to enable Qatar to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup Finals.
But once you dig deeper you find that the fellow at the centre of the so-called bribery allegations is an African who is being vilified on racist grounds.
CAF should ensure racism against Africans at the World Cup stop!

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