Inter Milan v Tottenham: Brad Friedel concedes tackling racism is tough

Spurs' match in Italy was overshadowed by racist behaviour

Paul Hirst
Friday 15 March 2013 12:15
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Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel
Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel

Brad Friedel thinks the authorities face a long and hard battle in their bid to stamp out racism in football after the problem reared its ugly head during Tottenham's defeat to Inter Milan last night.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored in extra-time to send Tottenham through on away goals, but his evening was overshadowed by the racist behaviour of a pocket of Inter fans.

Some Nerazzurri supporters monkey chanted when the Togo striker was the focus of play in the San Siro ground while one fan had brought an inflatable banana to the game.

Inter were fined £43,000 for waving inflatable bananas and unfurling abusive banners aimed at Mario Balotelli and his team-mate Sulley Muntari in last month's Milan derby, while the club also received a £12,900 fine after sections of their support sang racist chants about the former Manchester City striker during a game against Chievo.

Friedel, a professional of 18 years who has played across Europe and the United States, is aware of UEFA and FIFA's campaigns to try to eradicate racism in the game, but the 41-year-old thinks the problem will be hard to stamp out because it runs so deep in society.

"They (UEFA) can do what they are doing and set up campaigns and things of this nature, but until certain countries want to set up their infrastructure and school systems, and they go inside the parents' heads and the households, things will not change," the Spurs goalkeeper said.

"When they do that then things will change, not so much (through) campaigns and things of that nature.

"I think education should be more stringent."

UEFA is expected to reveal today whether they will investigate the chanting towards Adebayor.

The organisation has, in the past, been criticised for what is perceived to be a weak response to racism in football, although they did order Lazio to play two European games behind closed doors following repeated racism from some of the club's fans.

Friedel did not hear the chanting in the San Siro last night, but he is in no doubt that racism exists throughout society.

He added: "Unfortunately I live with it every day. My wife is from Barbados so we get to see it up close and personal. People can talk about it being out of society all they want but I am afraid it's not.

"It's worldwide. I think it's disgusting. I think it's just ignorant people."

PA

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