Discrimination and prejudice have become synonymous with football fan culture. In the Premier League alone it was estimated that discriminatory abuse was directed at a player once every 156 seconds. However, as most dedicated football fans know, stadiums are merely a reflection of society. This week on The Rail, we looked at what people are doing to combat racism in the game of football, as a means to create change in society as a whole.
Through the work of Kick it Out and the FARE Network, football fans who want to see their clubs become more accepting now have a support system. Events like the Mondiali Antirazzisti in Bologna, the Anti-Racism World Cup in Belfast, and the Action Weeks, all serve to empower fans to combat racism, sexism, and homophobia within their own communities.
Professional footballers have a particularly important role to play in inspiring people to become more open minded. One such example, which occurred recently was Per Mertesacker, who recently posted the following message to his Facebook page:
As a German who has lived in London for 5 years, he has learned how multicultural the English capital is. Its for this reason that he has come out in support of other migrants, who seek to live out their dream, just as he has been able to do. This is a shining example of how footballers can use their influence to change society for the better.