Racism is ingrained, we need more than hashtags to curb it: Frederic Kanoute

Frederic Kanoute feels merely reporting racist incidents in football won't make a difference, and fighting it needs a more comprehensive approach.

Ex-Sevilla striker and La Liga ambassador Frederic Kanoute.   -  Getty Images

While the world fights the deadly coronavirus, a fight to combat another virus that has been prevalent for decades is ongoing – the fight against racism. The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month has triggered worldwide protests and the Black Lives Matter Movement has gained widespread support.

Footballers, among other sportspersons, have also expressed their solidarity, with the likes of Jadon Sancho, Marcus Thuram, and Achraf Hakimi coming up with demonstrations on the pitch last week. 

La Liga ambassador Frederic Kanoute feels merely reporting incidents will not make a difference, and it needs a more comprehensive approach.

“When I am asked about racism generally, I say it’s much more than football. If we think we’re going to tackle racism because sometimes we make some complaints in football, it is wrong. It has to happen throughout societies and everyone has to take a good look in the mirror and tackle all forms of racism in society. It will take more than a few protests or hashtags, it’s a long fight,” he added.

READ | La Liga: Kanoute feels empty stands will have little impact on quality of football

The Malian-French former footballer added that the nation-wide protests in the USA should serve as a wake-up call.

“Racism is engrained in the minds of people. There is a lot of racism that is overt and covert - overt is not so much but covert is a big part of the iceberg. Hopefully, this is a turning point right now. What happened in the USA. I pray that this is a wake-up call for everybody.”

He added that the society, as a collective unit, had to do more to kick racism out.

“It’s very dangerous because we can’t ever do enough when it comes to racism. It’s like saying there are lesser murderers than a few years ago, so we have done enough. No, it’s not enough and it’s the same for racism. We have to tackle it throughout society.

"Football is just the tip of the iceberg; we have to go deeper than that. I am not being complacent in saying everything is good, we have to tackle racism throughout the globe and football,” stressed the 42-year-old.

The former Sevilla striker added that stricter sanctions for racism should be the way forward.

“Sanctions have to be longer for clubs that have supported or covered this behaviour when fans act like this. I think clubs that aren’t taking any action should be punished. At the personal level, any individual or coach who has made racial slurs should be banned. If we had taken more severe measures long ago, we would not have been in this situation today,” he said.

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