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The ball does stain: seven journalists propose drastic measures to banish racism from Peruvian soccer

The last weekend, at the Monumental stadium, the player from Melgar Kevin Quevedo They threw a banana at him. He has not yet identified his aggressor, a barrista who was located in the Western stand. The Disciplinary Commission of the Peruvian Football Federation opened a process to the University club for what happened. Meanwhile, its leadership, led by jean ferrari and seconded by spokesmen like Adrian Gallardo, not only has it cost him to apologize, but he has put the demeaning act against Quevedo and his reaction after the attacks on the same level. We reflected on this crime with seven colleagues, who answered the following questions:

  1. What effective measures can be implemented to eradicate racism in Peruvian soccer stadiums?
  2. Do you think that the ‘U’ leadership has handled what happened properly? Otherwise. Why?

Claudio Chaparro, journalist

1. It is necessary to create protocols and commit, in coordinated work between FPF and clubs, to sanction drastically: a lifetime impediment to entering stadiums. Any act of racism must stop the game immediately and the local club detect, on the spot, with the help of the people, the racist. And get him out in front of everyone in the stadium. At the same time, create awareness campaigns, in the same stadium, permanent, showing that football unites and is of all blood, taking advantage of the arrival that football has in people. The clubs carry out very good marketing campaigns, which are also about combating racism. Racism is a tare in Peru. Eradicating it depends on everyone and the call that football has must help.

2. It seems to me that the ‘U’ leadership has handled the issue miserably. Minimizes the act by seeking sanction for the rival player. I think the big mistake of this leadership of the ‘U’ is to include in managerial and management positions, from Jean Ferrari, guys who act like tribune fans, without professional criteria. And in this specific case, a racist act, they have also proceeded in a vile, senseless and cruel manner. The history of the ‘U’ does not deserve such leaders.

Sofía Carrillo, journalist and activist

1. When these types of acts occur, the referee must stop the game and through loudspeakers it must be warned that if this type of behavior continues, the game will be stopped. In this particular case, no prompt action was taken. Now the FPF Justice Commission should determine the sanction that can range from economic fines to the organizing club to closing stands, removing points or determining matches behind closed doors. What cannot happen is that nothing is done, because the message would be that racist and/or discriminatory acts are not considered serious.

All this must be accompanied by awareness campaigns. More than 15 years ago I had the opportunity to promote, together with volunteers from the Table for the Fight against Racism of the National Human Rights Coordinator, the campaign “Show racism the red card”, including the clubs and the Peruvian Association of Professional Soccer Players. they had a very good response, with Francesco Manassero and Sandro Cavero. Years later, the Ministry of Culture did the same, but if this is not sustained and accompanied by anti-racist campaigns in formal and informal spaces, we will not see real changes. Modifying racist and discriminatory sociocultural patterns is not easy. It must be understood that racism is a problem that we must face and denying it does not make it go away.

This fact should generate the immediate reaction of all soccer players and people linked to soccer, Afros or non-Afros. In addition to accompanying the attacked footballer and all his Afro colleagues. Unfortunately, many sportsmen and even journalists have built their masculinity on this idea that all insults must be tolerated and if you raise your voice when they insult you in a racist way you are “too sensitive” and it is not like that. Here an entire Afro-descendant people was animalized through the figure of Quevedo. It is embarrassing and there should be no room for lukewarmness, it is necessary for footballers to feel able and confident to ask to stop a football match if a similar event occurs again. And to black soccer players: do not be afraid to raise your voice, there is a community that has an obligation to support you.

2. The Universitario statement could have been more forceful in rejecting racism in addition to announcing the sanctions. It made me worried to see an interview on TV with Adrián Gallardo, sports coordinator of Universitario, who relativized what happened in the Monumental without assuming the seriousness of racist violence. Many still in the sports field can assume that “these are football things, in the heat of the moment”, otherwise I cannot explain why many sports journalists have not immediately rejected and condemned the racist act, during the broadcast of the match. However, beyond that, I hope that both this club and the others (because let’s not assume that only in the “U” these events occur) become aware of what happened and that Afro-descendant soccer players also feel supported by their club, the FPF and the ADFP. And the ball itself is stained with racism, nothing should be above the condemnation of an act of racist violence.

Pedro Ortiz Bisso, journalist and writer

1. First of all, the standards have to be covered. That subject who carried out that racist act against Quevedo must be identified and never allowed to enter a soccer stadium again. That’s how radical we have to be. The clubs have to be sanctioned even if they do not have a direct responsibility. If the fans don’t feel that they are harming their club, if this feeling of impunity in which they manage is maintained, this will continue. For the club it must be through the stadium or a fine that really hurts them. They have to be sanctioned in an exemplary manner so that this does not happen again and I am talking not only about the ‘U’, but also about Cienciano or any other club where a similar event occurs.

2. The handling of the leadership has been terrible. They have a serious communication problem because on the one hand they say they condemn racism, but on the other hand they try – or it is the feeling that remains – to mitigate what happened with Quevedo’s provocations or Villamarín’s statements, when neither of these acts is level of what was committed against the Melgar player. Racism should not be given a millimeter of space within football, it is true that it is a structural problem, a problem of Peruvian society, we are a very racist country. But it is something that we have to overcome and if we do not start by taking exemplary measures on the one hand and on the other clearly demarcating these acts, everything will remain empty statements, which have no concrete meaning.

Luccina Aparicio, ESPN journalist

1. Punish them because it’s the only way they can maybe learn not to make the same mistakes. For example, the fact of closing the stands, for example, seems to me to be a good option, because it leaves them unable to watch the game, which is what they most want. They go to see a game, wanting to support their team. If you close them or deny them that possibility, it would be an important measure. It is drastic, yes, but I consider that it is part of Peruvian society, of trying to educate the bars in some way. Actions must be taken so that they can experience football for what it is: a party, a passion, a distraction, entertainment, take them to that side. Activations in the same stadium, try to focus the event towards something positive, not towards the rivalry that although it is true that football will always have it, there are also other nuances. I think that, in that sense, marketing can matter, in what the league or the federation does.

2. It seems to me that the University leadership has not handled the situation well. From the beginning, only one person should have come out as a spokesperson for the club and not different people in different media, trying to justify what happened with an action by the player that is a response to the public. In the end it is a yes “he does it, I hit him twice as much”. Somehow discrimination shouldn’t exist, it’s unsportsmanlike, so if they try to justify it, I think they look bad. They have left the club in a bad way.

Bruno Ortiz Jaime, journalist

1. Be drastic in closing the stands so that the clubs feel the economic blow and radicalize their measures against these expressions. In the same way, initiate a process towards the subject who commits the act of racism, as was done at the time with the issue of firecrackers in the stands. It is not a criollada or a fault, it is a crime.

2. It seems to me that the ‘U’ directive is handled in a tribune manner and that leadership contributes little or nothing to the solution of problems, even more so of this gravity. Something to be damned ends up falling to the level of a school discussion.

María Fe Serra, journalist at Sudor magazine

1. We are in a society that drags a lot of burdens of discrimination, where racism, classism, machismo, homophobia are normalized. There has been evolution in recent years, but many of us have grown normalizing some discriminatory attitudes that we did not realize were wrong. Effective preventive measures have to come from both the clubs and the federation and from various fronts. One is education, the clubs have a strong influence on their fans, if they manage to make the fan trust and internalize the club’s communications, they could send messages that make them aware that this is not correct, that the club does not share those values. Campaigns can be made, making it visible that the clubs are diverse, from the players, the workers, to the leaders and the fans. There could be internal trainings in the clubs. First you must have a safe club, with complaint mechanisms, where you know that all your workers understand that racism is wrong to give consistent messages. Obviously, prevention cannot always work 100%. That is why there must be drastic sanctions from the federation. And be clear, objective and stipulated, they cannot be subject to interpretation.

2. It seems to me that the leadership has not handled what happened well and with these sensitive issues it should be pronounced relatively quickly. The statement is quite adequate, at least in it there was no intention to justify what had happened nor was the player’s provocation mentioned. Then Jean Ferrari himself puts out a tweet saying that they have identified the person and that they are going to apply sanctions, but that he also wanted sanctions for the other two people, because his behavior had not been ethical. Everything in the same message took weight away from him and left us all feeling that he was trying to justify it. The spokesman Adrián Gallardo (coordinator of Universitario) made very insane statements, minimizing racism, equating it with other issues to take the weight off the act. The important thing is that a racist act happened and that it must be visible, that the focus is not removed from there, because it is serious. Things should not be mixed.

Andrea Vela, Movistar Sports reporter

1. Identify those responsible and apply an exemplary sanction, which can set a precedent. Racism is a crime and in Peruvian soccer it goes through lukewarm water. It should not stop there, the clubs and FPF should have the responsibility to generate awareness and sensitization campaigns to eradicate racism.

2. No. A statement announcing the actions that would be taken is not enough, much less if they are not going to be emphatic in condemning racism. It has been even more unfortunate to listen to club representatives trying to minimize the facts. Immediate action is required.


Source: Elcomercio

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