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Racism in Football

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:32 pm on 15th October 2019.

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Photo of Ian Mearns Ian Mearns Chair, Backbench Business Committee 12:32 pm, 15th October 2019

As a Newcastle United fan, I am very aware that we are not without significant remaining problems here in the UK, but I hope that this is a watershed moment. Unfortunately, UEFA has paid lip service to this issue for decades. The Bulgarian stadium in Sofia was part closed last night due to previous infractions, but despite that the Bulgarian team manager, who was interviewed after the game, seemed oblivious to events happening around him and did not seem to understand what racism is and what constitutes racist abuse of players and/or other fans. UEFA has a clear responsibility not only to act where racism occurs, but to be proactive, as the European governing body of football, to educate the constituent football associations, clubs, officials, players and, yes, fans of clubs and nations across Europe and to act as a beacon within FIFA to stamp out racist abuse across the whole of the world. Our Government must urge UEFA to act properly—enough is enough.