Footballers are still regularly subjected to racism, on and off the pitch. One in six players based out of their native country have faced discrimination, according to a FIFPRO survey of 14,000 players.
Ghanaian player Sulley Muntari became upset when fans of Cagliari made monkey noises at him while he was playing in a Serie A match in Italy for Pescara.
But when Muntari complained to the referee, he received a yellow card and, when he walked off the pitch in protest, he received a red card.
As he left the pitch, he went up to the fans who had abused him, pointed at the skin on his arm and said: “This is my colour.”
“We need to build a strong team that can fight this disease, that’s what I call it. It is a disease.”
The Italian federation followed up by banning him for one match for receiving a red card.
FIFPRO and its player association in Italy (Associazione Italiana Calciatori) and Ghana (Professional Footballers Association of Ghana) rallied to help Muntari who said he felt isolated by what had happened to him.
We made the Italian federation see sense and it overturned its one-match ban. Muntari thanked FIFPRO and other organizations for supporting him.
“Football should be enjoyed by everyone. We shouldn’t accept any form of discrimination that shames our game”
FIFPRO stands with players like Muntari, Romelo Lukaku, and every single player who is victimized for their gender, race, religion or sexuality.
We encourage players to report discrimination confidentially to FIFPRO or their national player association when they do not want to do so publicly.
And we urge clubs, federations and social media networks to do more to combat racism against players.