Racism is alive and well in Europe

2008-07-14 00:00

So I found myself recently in Vienna, for the Uefa Euro 2008 soccer tournament, as a kind of precursor to 2010. It was hot. It was so hot, I thought I was melting. The Viennese, I could not fail to notice, were turning pinker and pinker. They don’t have any air conditioning to speak of and what they do have seldom works. You know how people who come to us from Europe say: “Why don’t you have double glazing?” and “Don’t you people notice the cold?” Well, so it was with me, except the other way around. No, they didn’t have air conditioning, because it never really gets hot, I was told. So, it was miserable. Really miserable.

We had an interesting session with an organisation called Fare (Football Against Racism in Europe) and they told us of some of the problems they need to deal with concerning racist behaviour in the stadia. There was a time, for instance, when a black player could not go through a game without bananas being thrown at him, or monkey noises being made. That doesn’t happen so much anymore.

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