Racism claim clouds World Cup win

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The Independent Online
ACCUSATIONS OF racism have introduced a discordant note into the euphoria over the United States' triumph in the women's football World Cup last weekend.

Phone-ins on radio and Internet message boards are alive with charges that the one black member of the team, the goalkeeper, Briana Scurry, was not given the credit due her role.

Scurry, 28, made the crucial save during the penalty shoot-out that allowed Brandi Chastain to clinch victory for the US. Television and newspaper photos were dominated by Chastain's winning goal, or her ecstatic removal of her shirt after scoring.

Some believe the coverage reflects the "goalie's curse" - a preference for the striker, of any colour, in any game.

But football experts and fans accused Scurry of breaking the rules by moving forward before the Chinese player took her penalty. Others said that both goalkeepers committed the same breach of regulations.

Scurry compounded the problem by telling the Los Angeles Times: "It's only cheating if you get caught."

This admission, plus a missed save when she was rescued by a team mate, have allowed some to argue that the less attention given to Scurry the better. A more malign explanation is also doing the rounds. According to this, advertisers want to promote women's soccer as a "white" sport to counter basketball and athletics, where teams are predominantly black. Chastain and her white team mates were just the ticket. Scurry was not.