Racism in Eastern Europe has been a huge problem in the land of soccer and in the general public. Claims of racist abuse, attacks and threats are common place — and a sad commentary on those countries’ footballing culture.
UEFA has tried to combat the racism seen across stadiums throughout the continent with a “No to Racism” campaign across all of its platforms. It also has handed down numerous stadium bans and even forced games to be played behind closed doors due to racism by certain groups of fans.
Last week in the Champions League saw Chelsea take on Dynamo Kiev in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, and there was a sad incident of four black Dynamo fans being attacked by their fellow fans. According to a report in The Mirror, the video of the attack has sparked a major controversy and UEFA is looking in to what disciplinary actions it could or will take.
Often teams try to self-police when these incidents happen, including Chelsea, who banned for life those who were caught on video in an ugly racist incident in Paris last year. So, it should be no surprised that Dynamo Kiev and the stadium are looking to find ways to mitigate any further racist action by fans.
Except, they have a very unique and completely insane idea for handling the issue — segregation.
Yep, the head of the Olimpiyskiy Stadium, Volodimir Spilchenko, is seriously considering a proposal put forth by a journalist at a press conference to segregate the white and black fans so attacks don’t happen.
“We are trying, maybe, to make a special sector (for black fans),” Spilchenko said. “In order to avoid the manifestation of racism.”
Because, as we all know…segregation is what will make people stop being racist a-holes. How about putting your foot down as a club and start handing down stadium bans, arresting those in the attacks and putting some teeth behind punishments for those who engage in racist attacks?
It clearly isn’t a one-time incident, as there has been previous trouble with these fans and their interactions with other fan groups.
Racism towards Everton players and fans in the Europa League has previously caused Dynamo Kiev to have to close their stadium to fans, so clearly this is a systemic problem within the fan culture of the team and likely in the general society that fan base comes from.
In a sickening twist, apparently the Ukrainian Football Federation is sticking his head in the sand and refusing to admit there is a racism problem with the Dynamo fans and at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in general.
Ohor Kochetov, the vice-president of the Ukrainian Football Federation, even went as far as blaming the black people for the attack they suffered.
“[The presence of the black fans] in the sector that is always occupied by the ‘Rodychi’ ultras is highly surprising to everyone.
“People of that category (black people) have never been there. Initial information indicates that these people were without tickets and were holding flares.
“Maybe this was a specially planned provocation. These are all questions that require answers.”
Is it possible that they went in to provoke an attack? Maybe, but it would only serve to prove the point that racism is rampant at the stadium and within the fanbase. Perhaps it was more of a protest action than a provocation.
Apparently, their one crime was being born of a different race.
Sadly, this isn’t likely to be the last time we hear a story like this and until UEFA and the individual countries get serious about changing the culture surrounding their soccer teams and society in general nothing seems like it will exterminate this kind of behavior.