Following England and Italy’s EU Finals match there has been a lot of agony and hate towards people of colour.
That led to normal people like myself who enjoy playing football for fun and liaising with coaches to run Sunday community leagues voluntarily questioning our commitment to the game. We have always tolerated so many issues without knowing the cause of that hate or anger on the pitch. My teammates and the team I am running who happened to be from refugee’s background have suffered a lot. Football is a space where we bring different types of skills, tactics, and the English style of playing football is distinctly different from the style that my team play. This has led us to suffer from verbal abuses as well as unnecessary physical tackles purely because of the style that we use. As a result, most of my teammate started to avoid any matches that played against English teams.
Football should be a space where people meet and have fun despite their language, race, or any other barriers with shared goals of enjoying the game. It should be about learning new styles and skills from each other, of playing with respect with the opponent, and acknowledging that it is only a game, there will always be winners and losers. Football is meant to be celebrating our diversity and breaking barriers where we give and receive without judgement.
We understand that football is a game of passion and sometimes that the game can be intense. But it is also a way to bring diverse people together through the love of the game and fun.
“No one is born to hate another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite” Nelson Mandela.