Racism not subject for discussion at professional football clubs: survey

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

One in five professional football players says prejudice and stereotyping based on skin colour and ethnic background are taboo subjects at their clubs, a survey has shown.

Sport research institute Mulier, which gauges abuses in sport, approached some 1,044 (male) professional players in the Netherlands, of whom just 118 responded.

Players with an ethnic minority background in particular said the subject of discrimination is not talked about. They also said the sport needs more coaches, managers and administrators of colour.

‘It is unbelievable that former players like Seedorf, Kluivert, Hasselbaink and Bogarde never got to work in the Eredivisie,’ one of the respondents said. ‘We need greater diversity and a clear message of why racism and other abuses are not to be tolerated.’

Four in 10 players said that racism and other types of discrimination are common and 14% said they had been the subject of racism themselves. A quarter of the respondents said that fellow team members made jokes or negative comments about skin colour, background or religion.

All players said measures needed to be taken, including against member of the public. They did not rate football association KNVB’s anti racism policy.


In a reaction to broadcaster NOS, a KNVB spokesman said it had introduced 20 anti-discrimination measures in the last 18 months. ‘We think that 14% has to go down to 0%. Discrimination and exclusion will not be tolerated,’ the spokesman said.

The KNVN launched a three year plan of attack in 2020 as a direct result of racist chanting during a match between FC Den Bosch and Excelsior in 2019.

The referee suspended the game in the 28th minute after Excelsior striker Ahmad Mendes Moreira complained of being targeted by a group of home fans. It was the first time a professional match in the Netherlands has been stopped because of racism.

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