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By Marcia Hutchinson


Tuesday, November 22, 2011.



Last year my organisation Primary Colours, produced Did You Know? 3, a series of biographies of black and Asian footballers to coincide with the South African Football World Cup.  One common theme that emerged was that all the ten footballers featured had suffered from racism on the field (and many off it).  

We are not just talking about racist comments from other players, heinous though that is, but also racist chanting from the terraces and in many cases missiles being thrown from the terraces at the footballers. 

It is a wonder that many of these players were able to continue to play so well under such a barrage of abuse.  John Terry, the current England Captain, is being investigated for alleged racist comments towards Anton Ferdinand and Luis Suarez is under investigation for comments made to Patrice Evra.

When asked about this, FIFA President Sepp Blatter denied that racism exists in football and suggests that any untoward comments on the pitch should be ‘settled by a handshake at the end of the match’.  It would be laughable if it were not so serious. Racism on the pitch is a reflection of racism in society at large.  

Let us not forget that we are in the middle of the second Stephen Lawrence murder trail. In 1993 eighteen year old black A level student Stephen Lawrence was murdered, at a bus stop in London by total strangers.  You might argue that such extreme violence has nothing to do with football and what happens on the pitch.  We might hope that Britain has changed in the eighteen years since his death and the violent murder of a black man by total strangers would never happen again.

Two words; Anthony Walker.  In 2005 eighteen year old black A level student Anthony Walker was murdered at a bus stop in Huyton Liverpool by total strangers. The axe that killed him was swung with such force that it smashed his skull and was left embedded in his brain.

The killers; Michael Barton and his cousin Paul Taylor.  

Michael Barton is the brother of Premiership footballer Joey Barton. Joey Barton’s criminal convictions include one for attacking his black team-mate Ousmane Dabo on the pitch. Joey Barton has also been pictured with the head of the far right English Defence League but denies being a member of the organisation.

For Sepp Blatter racism doesn’t exist in football, for many others it is literally, a matter of life and death.



Marcia Hutchinson studied law at Oxford University before practising as a solicitor for ten years. She changed direction in 1997 establishing Primary Colours to meet a need for high quality culturally diverse educational resources. She has written for a range of publications, including the Guardian, The Yorkshire Post and the Caribbean Times. She was recently the subject of ITV's My Yorkshire. She speaks regularly at conferences and other events on education for diversity.


Marcia is available to comment on all aspects of education for diversity and issues around multiculturalism in schools. For further information please contact  marketing@primarycolours.net

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