A Senegalese football player in Turkey has slammed football’s governing bodies FIFA and UEFA for their shortcomings in fighting racism.
Ricardo Faty told Anadolu Agency on Monday that racism does not have a place in football, but unfortunately, it is seen in societies.
”Honestly, I don’t think they [FIFA and UEFA] are doing their job right. We know there are many ways to stop racism. They don’t do everything to finish these kind of things,” the MKE Ankaragucu midfielder said, emphasizing their weakness in combating the problem.
“For example, in England, hooliganism was eradicated. They did it very well. But in Italy, I don’t think they take these things very seriously because there are things that happen every weekend. People aren’t scared of FIFA or a football federation. They [football associations] have to be stronger about this.”
UEFA, European football’s governing body, has repeatedly vowed to eliminate racism and discrimination from the game.
In recent years, UEFA released a video to raise awareness about racism, with many football stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic joining the campaign.
Living in Turkey for almost five years, the 33-year-old player said he is very happy and feels comfortable in Turkey, as he has never been racially attacked in the country.
Faty also said he has never faced any racial abuse during his career, but some of his footballer friends have experienced this nuisance.
”Personally, I have never suffered a racial assault. Some friends experienced this kind of situation, mostly in Italy,” the former Roma midfielder said, adding that racism is a big problem for Italy.
”Compared to other countries like Germany or France, Italy is not used to getting a lot of immigrants,” he said, adding the level of racism in Italy might be high, as Italian society is not used to living with people that have different cultures.
Born in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges near Paris, Faty — an ex-Senegalese international — previously played in France, Italy, Germany, Greece and Belgium.
He joined Ankaragucu from another Turkish club Bursaspor in 2018, scoring three goals in 32 matches for the Ankara team.
Having founded in 1910, Ankaragucu is regarded as one of Turkey’s oldest football clubs.
The club disappoint their fans over poor performance this season as they sit in 17th place with nine points at the end of the 12th week in Turkish Super Lig.
Racism hits Italian football
This season, Europe — especially Italy — has been suffering from racism so much as football in the continent was overshadowed by hate speech against black players.
The rise of racism ruined Italian football in general as black footballers in the country faced racist attacks over the past few years.
In September, Inter Milan’s Belgian star Romelu Lukaku was targeted by Italian fans of Cagliari during an Italian Serie A match.
Lukaku, 26, was subjected to ‘monkey’ chants from Cagliari fans while he was taking a penalty kick.
An investigation was launched by the Serie A disciplinary body, but Cagliari did not face any sanctions.
The Italian football division said that chants, shouts and whistles against Lukaku can’t be considered discriminatory.
“The tribunal has decided not to apply sanctions to Cagliari,” it said concerning the Lukaku incident.
Italian sports commentator Luciano Passirani, 80, had said regarding Lukaku’s power on the field that the only way to stop him is “if you have 10 bananas to give him.”
Passirani tried to walk back the racist remarks but was sacked by the TopCalcio 24 channel, where he made them.
Lukaku was one of the top signings in the summer of 2019 as Inter signed him away from England’s Manchester United for €65 million ($71.5 million).
Brescia’s forward Mario Balotelli — an Italian national with Ghanaian roots — was another victim of racism in Italy this season. He was racially abused by Hellas Verona fans in a league match in November.
Balotelli, 29, protested against Verona fans who were making monkey chants to harass him, kicking the ball into the crowd. He wanted to leave the pitch but was stopped by his teammates and Hellas Verona players.
Meanwhile, the club banned its ultras leader Lucas Castellini until 2030 for his racist comments about Balotelli, which harmed the values of Hellas Verona.
“Balotelli is Italian because he has Italian citizenship. But he can never be completely Italian,” Castellini said during an interview with a radio channel.
Last season, some Inter fans directed monkey noises at Napoli’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly during a match in Milan.
Following this incident, the Italian football body penalized Inter, and they played behind closed doors for two home matches at Giuseppe Meazza Stadium, which they have shared for more than seven decades with AC Milan, who call it San Siro Stadium.
Hate speech spreads to Bulgaria
Separately, in an international match between Bulgaria and England in October, English players Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Tyrone Mings were targeted in Sofia by Bulgarian fans who taunted them with monkey chants and Nazi salutes at a EURO 2020 qualifier.
UEFA’s disciplinary body ordered Bulgaria to play their next home game without fans.
It also fined the Bulgarian Football Union €75,000 (nearly $82,700) “for the racist behavior of its supporters and the throwing of objects.”