The very shameful racist abuse of Raheem Sterling Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi during England’s Euro 2020 qualifying match against Montenegro on Monday logically triggered outrage in British football. Fans who want to watch the live action of Football can buy England Euro Cup Tickets online.
However it is not the first time that black England players have been targeted during games in the Balkans. The scenes in the Montenegrin capital Podgorica were grimly similar to those in 2012 when again Rose was subjected to monkey chants during an England U21 game against Serbia and to Zagreb in 2008.
England black players are not alone in this case A banana was thrown at the Italian international by Croatian fans at Euro 2012 Partizan Belgrade’s Brazilian midfielder Everton Luiz was abused by FK Rad fans in the Serbian a couple of years back the list is depressingly long.
Racism in Balkan football is not new and other forms of discrimination including homophobia anti-Semitism or anti-Romany sentiment are widespread in the game and beyond.
On top of that normal expression of ethnic hatred towards teams or players from neighboring countries remain at the core of Balkan football fan culture.
The lack of diversity and social debate about racism in the region leads many to trivialize the severity of racist behavior and reduce it to a form of acceptable football related banter. It is widely accepted as a form of psychological terror against an opposing team and more importantly particular players.
The fans doing the monkey chants on Monday were sitting in the main stand. They were most likely not fanatical hooligans but ordinary supporters for whom this sort of behavior is regarded as normal.
The fact that the Montenegro manager Ljubisa Tumbakovic saw no reason to comment on the incidents in the post-match press conference says a lot about how seriously the issue is being taken.
The Montenegrin FA issued a tame statement while Montenegro’s sport and youth minister described the game as a sports festival with a carnival atmosphere condemning only inexplicable messages by some fans in the stadium.
In 2013, the Croatian FA promised its support to defender Josip Šimunić after he was fined for chanting a fascist slogan Za dom spremni For the homeland ready the fish really does rot from the head down.
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