Friday, January 04, 2013
Governing body of British soccer to tackle racism by giving ‘cultural lessons’ to dumb, un-PC foreign players
Try to get your head around this: the FA has announced that it plans to fight racism in British football by re-educating the game's foreign players and inculcating them with "British cultural values". Yes, that's right – the FA's big idea for tackling prejudice in footie is to declare war on the allegedly prejudicial mindsets of those bloody foreigners coming over here and ruining our national sport with their un-PC, racially tinged outlooks.
I'll say it one more time to ensure that everyone is as struck dumb by this daft idea as I was: the FA believes that racism in British football is in part a spin-off of the backward attitudes of footballers from other, non-British races – which of course is itself a borderline racist belief. My head hurts.
Clearly the FA's irony checker was on holiday when it was drawing up its 93-point document, English Football's Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination Action Plan. The document contains various proposals for tackling the alleged scourge of racism in football, including having a mandatory anti-racism clause in all players' contracts and introducing fixed-term bans for players found guilty of using racist language.
But the proposal to introduce "cultural lessons" for foreign-born players is the most startling of all. According to the BBC, the aim of these lessons is to "induct" foreign players, who obviously come from less enlightened, less racially aware countries than our own, into a "British cultural environment" of fair play and tolerance.
In essence, then, the FA's contribution to anti-racism in football is to further fuel the prejudicial belief that foreigners are uncouth, uneducated, intolerant. This is one of those moments when one feels tempted to reach for that hackneyed tabloid phrase, "You couldn't make it up".