Racism tarnishing Portuguese sport

Racism tarnishing Portuguese sport

At the international level, what happened to football player Marega of FC Porto is not an isolated case, but in the Portuguese national reality it was highlighted on enery newspaper front page and opening news, with the beginning of debates about racism and football supporters.

After the attack of 40 Sporting supporters on May 15, 2018, against Sporting’s training center, with assaults on players, coaches and other members of the club’s technical team – whose judgment still lasts – the football supporters returned to the national discussion.

Racist chants throughout the game, monkey sounds made whenever the player touched the ball, a thrown chair, a referee who did nothing and the culmination of tension with the player leaving the field by his own decision, contrary to higher orders from coach – This could be the summary of the “Marega case”, but here it is important to discuss who should be held criminally responsible. The club to which the supporters belongs? Specially if they finance these supporters? In part, yes, but not exclusively. Fines or games behind closed doors are not the solution nor can they be the culmination of this process.

With the use of cameras present in the football stadium, crossing the data with the information of who bought the tickets, all persons who made racist statements against the player should be identified and accused of the practice of illegal acts.

After all, Article 13 of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic determines:

1. All citizens have the same social dignity and are equal before the law.

2. No one can be privileged, benefited, harmed, deprived of any right or exempt from any duty due to ancestry, sex, race, language, territory of origin, religion, political or ideological beliefs, education, economic situation, social status or sexual orientation.

However, aren’t we going into a madness scenario in which all those who offend any player or referee should also be criminalized? Should the most advanced facial recognition technology be used to facilitate the initiation of proceedings?

If so, would anyone still want to go watch a football game live, when they could stay at home, watch the game and say what they want?

It seems to me that there must be a middle ground. Club penalties, end of financial incentives to supporters with history of offenses and, above all, banning the entry of these supporters in any stadium.

A football game always raises our spirits and leaves our nerves on edge – and that is one of the wonders of football. However, this can never give rise to any crime, whatever it may be.