Lyon vs. Tottenham Hotspur: How to Deal with Racism in Football

Roberto Alvarez-Galloso@AlvarezGallosoChief Writer IFebruary 21, 2013

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Lyon: UEFA Europa League
Tottenham Hotspur vs. Lyon: UEFA Europa LeaguePaul Gilham/Getty Images

The ugly head of racism rears its head once again in the world of football, this time prior to the upcoming UEFA Europa League match between Lyon and the Tottenham Hotspur.

Darren Lewis of The Mirror reported that fans of the Tottenham Hotspur were attacked by masked thugs at a pub called "The Smoking Dog."

According to the reports, three Spurs supporters were hospitalized and property was damaged. There were reports about the attackers making Nazi-style salutes during the incident.

The Spurs security service and The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) of Great Britain were present to assist the victims. The unfortunate event serves as a wake-up call to deal with racism before it damages the beautiful sport of football.

Bleacher Report's Sam Lopresti wrote an article about how to deal with racism in Italian Football. The article served as an inspiration to write about this abominable incident.

We can no longer stand by and allow a minority to get away with this behavior. While talking and writing about racism is great, action is needed to reduce or remove racism from football.



The American author Alex Haley once said that racism is learned as a behavior. Anzhi Makhachkala's Samuel Eto’o said that racism can be reversed.

Institutions such as Show Racism The Red Card in Great Britain do a great job exposing racism. In spite of the good intentions, education must be provided on a continual basis in order to reduce and eliminate racism.


Everyone involved in football from the supporters to the authorities must be involved in the educational process. The education must be accompanied by consistent punishment where necessary.

The following are some examples of punishment that can be used.


Empty Stadium

The idea of playing matches in an empty stadium is a great one. According to, FIFA used the empty stadium punishment against Hungary and Bulgaria in the beginning of 2013.

FIFA ordered Hungary and Bulgaria to play their next 2014 World Cup Qualifier (WCQ) in empty stadiums. This was in response to racist chants by Bulgarian and Hungarian supporters during their World Cup Qualifiers.



Hungary and Bulgaria (as reported by received monetary punishment as well. FIFA fined Hungary $43,000 for Anti-Semitic chants by its supporters during a WCQ against Israel.

Bulgaria was fined $38,000 for supporters who did monkey chants against Danish defender Patrick Mtiliga. The incident occurred during Bulgaria’s WCQ against the Scandinavian country.


Point Deduction


The idea of point deduction is a great one in the fight against racism in football. FIFA President Sepp Blatter once said that point deduction must be used as punishment.

Unfortunately, FIFA made a mistake in its punishment of Hungary and Bulgaria, and Hungary and Bulgaria did not receive point deductions.

If the two Central European countries had received point deductions, they would not have qualified for the World Cup.



It is my hope that the world of football unites to expose, attack, and remove racism from football. We have the tools to do so and the sooner they are used, the better.