A 'Black Players' Association' won't end racism in football

The effort to kick racism out of football has suffered major set backs in recent weeks, but is this really the answer?

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The world of football experienced a huge injustice this month and it’s no wonder that the ‘intelligentsia’ have started throwing ludicrous ideas left, right and centre in an effort to kick racism out of the game for good.

With awful scenes during England U21’s match in Serbia just last week and the recent refusal of a number of black players to wear the Kick it Out shirts during warm ups, it’s easy to see why everyone's scratching around for new ideas. However, the latest innovation in the fight against racism, appears to be so counterproductive it makes opening a freezer retail chain in the Himalayas seem like entrepreneurial genius.

With all the zeal and idiocy of a lemming heading for a cliff edge, Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, announced the formation of the “Black Players’ Association” (a working title) is at a preliminary stage.

He added that the association would work specifically for the interests of black players.

Herbert told Radio Five Live: "I think we have reached a watershed. The Society of Black Lawyers have been looking at the situation and held informal talks with a few black players.

"What we needed essentially was for black players themselves to take the initiative which they now appear to have done and form a progressive black footballers' association which can properly represent their interests and speak on their behalf whenever there is a legal issue - they suffered abuse in Serbia, they suffer abuse in the UK.”

And yet, it must be obvious to most rational thinkers that the abolition of racism will be achieved only when there is complete equality between the races. Surely the notion of separate associations for a specific race sounds less like a step toward equality and more like a step toward apartheid?

Would an association for every race, religion and creed also be necessary? What if this fails? Will they create a separate league for black players? I think not. The suggestion that separation of this kind can be likened to equality is not only archaic but horribly disturbing.

And while fascists up and down the country continue to repeatedly argue “Can you imagine if they had an awards ceremony for Music of White Origin?!” I fear a new debate will spring up in pubs of the right: “Can you imagine if they had a white players' association?!”

Rio Ferdinand, alongside many other black Premier League players, staged a protest this weekend against the Kick it Out campaign by refusing to wear their shirts in the pre-match warm-up. Although this protest was one of frustration at the organisation, which has received a lot of praise over the years, it still seems unjust. Let’s not forget the campaign began in 1993 under the name of Kick Racism Out of Football and the world and its attitudes toward different ethnicities has changed dramatically.

These views are evolving all the time and, as much as I hate to say it, it seems time will be the ultimate healer and there is no magic anti-racism pill. It is more than apparent that with every new generation born, racism, sexism, homophobia or every other type of prejudice becomes increasingly unacceptable.

I understand that more needs to be done to protect players from the abysmal attitudes toward black players in some foreign countries and, indeed, in the UK, but surely creating this new association is the racial equivalent of building a glass house.

Yes, let’s encourage the end of racism with campaigns such as Kick it Out, but let’s not kick our toys out of the pram because it’s not moving quick enough; just remember it is moving.

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