Liverpool FC issued a statement addressing the alleged incident of racial abuse directed at Oldham player Tom Adeyemi during the third round FA Cup win on Friday. Adeyemi, on loan from Norwich, appeared to take offense from something yelled from the stands on the KOP end of Anfield. He later gave a statement to the police claiming he was racially abused twice by a supporter.
Liverpool FC earlier today issued a statement that mirrors earlier reports that the Reds have begun working with police to launch an investigation.
“Liverpool FC apologises for upset and distress suffered by Oldham player Tom Adeyemi; the Club reaffirms commitment to work with game’s ruling bodies to fight discrimination, and the Reds vow to take strongest possible action against unacceptable behavior.”
No arrests have been made, but Liverpool FC did go on to state that they have begun working with police to begin investigating the incident.
The incident came fresh off of alleged racial abuse on the pitch between Liverpool forward Luis Suarez and Manchester United defender Patrice Evra. Luis Suarez was later found guilty of alleged racial abuse and given an eight match ban, which the player has already started serving.
News of racial abuse popping up within short occurrence of this very public incident at Anfield should not be a surprise to anyone. For years FIFA, the governing body of soccer, has been dealing with this issue in stadiums all over the world. Initially launching anti-racism campaigns with notable support from the players.
It would seem as though that the anti-racism campaign initiated by FIFA, for the most part, had been rather successful over the years. Incidents like the one between Suarez and Evra happened at a greater frequency in the past with little to no retribution for the victim. Clearly that isn’t the case anymore and with such swift and direct punishment handed down by the English FA in the Suarez case, it proved to define the commitment of national federations to address this very destructive issue.
However, I feel that where there are seeds and water to grow, any public or societal problem can be given life. I feel that FIFA’s campaign has been pushed a step back by the heavy hands of the English Premier League. Was the anger directed at Adeyemi more from frustration that Suarez’s punishment was perceived as unjust by Liverpool supporters? Was this simply an isolated incident?
Hardly. I feel that although through great efforts by FIFA to banish racism from football stadiums or the game as a whole, they have done little to address the players actions on the pitch. I fear that very high profile cases such as the Suarez ruling and the impending case against John Terry have given light a problem that may not have been perceived to exist.
Their are programs to address many different issues facing professional athletes in sport today. I feel that it has finally become time for a national federation to institute a program that brings awareness to racial abuse on the pitch as well. Such programs are often done behind close doors with the players specifically. Often teaching life strategies both on and off the pitch. I don’t see how racial abuse or racism is any different.
I believe the English FA has neither the want or the need for this type of publicity, especially after their very public failure to secure a World Cup bid. Liverpool FC was right to issue a statement today expressing their desire to work with the authorities to bring the perpetrator to justice. It’s time for the governing body to help prevent racial abuse from happening anywhere from anyone involved with the game.