Sport 19.5.2017 10:55 am

Racism makes African players doubt going to Europe

Shaun Bartlett says anti-racism campaigns were very strong when he played in England. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images.

Shaun Bartlett says anti-racism campaigns were very strong when he played in England. Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images.

Former Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett says Fifa needs to be more proactive after Sulley Muntari’s racist abuse earlier this month.

Former Bafana Bafana striker Shaun Bartlett believes African players will become more reluctant to sign for European clubs unless something is done about racism on that continent.

The issue is squarely in the spotlight again following Sulley Muntari’s Serie A ban for standing up against racist abuse earlier this month.

Also read: WATCH: Anger as Muntari is banned for standing up to racism

The Ghanaian veteran left the field in stoppage time during the Serie A meeting between Pescara and Cagliari due to the verbal abuse he received throughout the game.

Instead, the 32-year-old was shown a yellow card for “leaving the field without permission” and handed a one-match suspension.

Bartlett, who played 74 internationals and netted 28 times, says things can’t go on like this.

“As an African player, you’re constantly going to consider that (the potential for racism) when a club approaches you,” he told CTGN Africa this week.

“You start asking ‘Is it really worth it to go there?’. It’s not necessarily a question of money but rather being uncomfortable and being put in situations you don’t want to be in.”

Bartlett, who turned out 77 times for Switzerland’s FC Zurich and a meaty 123 times for Charlton Athletic in the English Premiership, is actually flabbergasted that racism remains such a big problem.

“For these things to still happen is very sad. It shouldn’t be in the game,” he said.

“We keep talking about Fair Play in terms of respect for officials and opponents. But racism touches a lot more people.”

Eradicating the problem completely is probably unrealistic but there are certain initiatives that are proving effective.

Bartlett cites England’s Kick It Out campaign, an organisation that provides support and runs educational programmes to combat racism in professional football.

“When I played in the UK, I was very privileged to be a part of the Kick It Out organisation,” he said.

“They put a lot of emphasis on curbing racism in football and work closely with the FA. It’s a model Fifa should consider.”

For more sport your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.

To comment you need to be signed in to Facebook. Please do not comment by saying anything prejudiced.
We reserve the right to remove offensive comments.

results

Wits 2-0 Polokwane
Plat Stars 2-0 Chiefs
Sundowns 2-2 Maritzburg

fixtures

Chiefs vs Wits
Sundows vs Highlands

psl log

# Team GP Pts
1 Bidvest Wits 28 57
2 Sundowns 28 55
3 Cape Town City 28 52
4 SuperSport United 28 48
5 Kaizer Chiefs 28 47
6 Polokwane City 28 40
7 Maritzburg Utd 28 36
8 Ajax Cape Town 28 35
9 Arrows 28 35
10 Orlando Pirates 28 32
11 Platinum Stars 28 31
12 Bloemfontein Celtic 28 27
13 Free State Stars 28 26
14 Highlands Park 28 25
15 Chippa United 28 24
16 Baroka FC 28 24

poll