In 2012 ex football player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch...
The FA’s response to racism is just “lip service,” says Fabrice Mumba.
Fabrice Muamba has described the Football Association’s response to racism in the sport as just “lip-service”.
Speaking out after the FA urged supporters not to boo players who take the knee before Euro 2020 games, the former England and Bolton Wanderers player says he is still waiting for English football’s governing body to take decisive action to stamp out racism.
He said: “It’s all lip service. Where’s the action? We’ve been having this conversation a whole year now and we're (still) talking about these things. Two years ago, Raheem Sterling was playing against Chelsea, there was a guy behind him doing monkey chants. Yes he’s been caught, (but) what’s the fine, what’s the sanction?”
Chelsea banned the supporter for life, but five other supporters were “temporarily” suspended for using “abusive language and threatening and aggressive behaviour”.
Muamba says he is also disappointed by the lack of diversity off the pitch, which he says in no way matches what he sees reflected on the pitch.
In a wide ranging interview with Premier Gospel Radio, he told station Director Muyiwa Olarewaju: “The Premier league is not a reflection of what’s on the pitch. When you look at the Premier League, when you look at the board of the Premier League it isn't the same reflection is it? in terms of the colour of players, and of the color of the managers it’s not the same reflection.”
He raised questions about why players continue to take the knee, a gesture of anti-racism, when he sees no meaningful change in the sport.
“So what are we taking the knee for?” he asked. “(For) George Floyd, who has passed away? Are we taking the knee for race or are we taking the knee for equality? Because the game has never been equal. Does the reflection of black players on the pitch right now reflect the managers, does it reflect the board, does it reflect people on TV? We can go back and forth with it but it’s a sensitive subject and a sensitive subject that people might not like to hear, but it’s a fact. We have to be a reflection of our product.”
Muamba himself has been on the receiving end of racism in football. A few weeks after he collapsed and technically “died” for 78 minutes during an FA Cup Quarter final game against Tottenham Hotspur in 2012, a student was jailed for posting racially offensive comments about him on Twitter.
He now says he would not want his children to follow his footsteps and become professional footballers like was.
Muamba said: “I’ve done the running for them, God bless me I’m ok and I want them to do something better than I ever accomplished in life. So in regards to sport, it’s a short term career, it’s not a 40 year career, it’s a 10/9 year career. Why do I need to put my sons under so much pressure to play football because I play football? Be somebody different. Be someone that no one in my family was - a doctor, a lawyer - so be it, no problem at all. But with the sports game, move on to something else that would be great.”
You can watch the full interview here