Speakers from anti-racism groups held a meeting in Sheffield to devise new ways to defeat all forms of discrimination in football.
Paul Sillett from Unite Against Fascism, was joined by Howard Holmes and Ruth Johnson from Football Unites, Racism Divides in debating with the Sheffield public on how to eliminate discrimination and racism in the sport. Chair of the meeting, John Campbell, is a representative from the Sheffield branch of Unite Against Fascism.
25 guests turned up to listen to the speakers and discussed their personal experiences, which ranged from Sunday league football to abuse they’ve suffered or have heard on the terraces of the professional game.
Aasim Khan, 26, of Hadfield Close, who helps run Darnall football academy, spoke of his experiences and explained that racism is prevalent at ‘all levels’.
“We’ve had a couple of racist incidents targeted at our players and we’ve dealt with it the way it should be dealt with. But we must not forget that racism has always been in football and happens at all levels. We’ve only ever had one British Asian footballer play in the Premier League, Zesh Rehman. That’s scary. Why don’t we get the same opportunities?”
The meeting comes after the recent sacking of England Women’s head coach, Mark Sampson over racially abusing England attacker Eniola Aluko. Aluko had alleged that the FA attempted to blackmail her, suggesting that the FA would only pay the second part of her settlement fee if she disclosed a statement saying the FA were not ‘institutionally racist’.