When they kicked off their first-ever season in 2015, New York City FC were known for players like Andrea Pirlo and David Villa. But a far more dubious side of the club was lurking in the stands. The fact that some of the club’s fans were extremists gained publicity when one of them, Irvin Antillon, was involved in a brawl outside an event featuring one of the founders of the far-right group, the Proud Boys last October. But the brawl was far from the first time an ugly side of the fanbase had emerged. Supporters first complained to NYC FC about the far-right during the team’s first season, when a small group began chanting neo-Nazi slogans at a home game. They identified themselves as members of Battalion 49, a skinhead group, and attached their iconography to the club’s logo and imagery. Later that season, in the first ever game against local rivals the New York Red Bulls, Battalion 49 and members of various Red Bull supporter groups fought near Red Bull Arena in … [Read more...] about Proud Boys and skinheads: MLS faces an incursion from the far-right
Far right football clubs
The racist abuse vented on black English footballers during Monday evening’s match in Bulgaria is completely incompatible with all sport, but much of it has nothing to do with sport (Sofia shame: Racist abuse rains down on England on sickening night for football, 15 October). The game itself is simply the vehicle for the extreme right to gather, and it enables its adherents to shout their racist abuse among a large crowd under the pretence of supporting a football team. The fact that those identified as abusing black players were mainly in one section of the ground – and that many left early as a group once exposed – demonstrates this analysis. It is certainly not an excuse for Fifa or the Bulgarian football authorities to avoid action; on the contrary, it means that they have to step up their work to identify and to exclude the guilty from all future matches. English clubs that have suffered from this far-right tactic, including my local club, Leeds United, have used … [Read more...] about Rooting out racism from football and wider society
“I recently stumbled upon this article about Tony Hibbert signing for an unbeaten Sunday league team in 2017 and missing a penalty for them in a 1-0 defeat on his debut. Which other former professionals have extended their careers into Sunday league football after retiring,” asks George Jones. The smell of liniment oil and the thrill of almost being cut in two by a hungover centre-back would appear to be quite the draw for ex-pros as there have been a few turning out for Sunday teams over the years. “I remember Julio Arca, formerly of Sunderland and Middlesborough, playing for his local team Willow Pond FC in Sunderland for a period after he retired in 2013,” writes Robert Kelly. “He later played for South Shields at a higher standard.” Ali Tabari can go one better. He has a former Premier League player being managed by a former Premier League player in the pock-marked fields of Warwickshire. “My friend until recently played for a team near … [Read more...] about Which former pros have played Sunday league football after retiring?
Long before the footballers of Bulgaria and England walked on to the pitch of Sofia’s Stadion Vasil Levski on Monday evening, their Euro 2020 qualifying match had become a test of something far more important than sporting prowess. Parts of the stadium had been closed off after previous incidents of racist abuse at international games. Yet warnings by the Chelsea forward, Tammy Abraham, that England would consider leaving the pitch if there was a repeat, drew the ire of the president of Bulgaria’s football federation, Borislav Mihaylov. Bulgaria, he said, had less of a problem with racism than England, and Abraham’s remarks had been “derogatory” and “offensive”. In fact they turned out to be prescient. Before and during the match, black English players were booed and subjected to monkey chants by sections of the crowd. Far-right ultras repeatedly made Nazi salutes. The defender Tyrone Mings, making his international debut, was a particular … [Read more...] about The Guardian view on racism and football: time for Uefa to step up
Occasionally football acts as a springboard for conversations that affect society as a whole. That happened in Brazil at the weekend. Before Fluminense hosted Bahia in the Maracanã, the two clubs’ managers embraced on the touchline wearing matching anti-racism T-shirts. Both men are black. It should not be remarkable to see two black managers leading teams in the top flight of Brazilian football. Yet, in a country where more than half of the population identifies as black or mixed race, only two Série A managers do. Their T-shirts were emblazoned with the logo of the Observatório da Discriminação Racial no Futebol, an organisation that campaigns tirelessly to rid the game of racism. “I know what I represent, as Fluminense manager, for people of our colour,” said Marcão in his pre-match press conference. Some people in Brazil still claim that race has no bearing on a person’s life chances, but that could not be further from the … [Read more...] about Black football managers join forces in Maracanã to condemn racism in Brazil