In UEFA Cup the Racists* Have It: Zenit St. Petersburg Defeats Rangers F.C., 2-0

Christopher OwenCorrespondent IMay 14, 2008

*I am in no way insinuating that any member or employee of Zenit St. Petersburg Football Club is racist, or racially inclined. I am referring to the openly racist fans, as described by Dick Advocaat in his interview.

Let us be clear from the start:

I am not a Rangers fan.

I have little interest in the SPL (Scottish Premier League)

And I am incensed.

Not because Rangers lost, but because the most racially slanted football club in Europe (that I know of) was firstly allowed to compete in UEFA's second largest tournament, and then went on to win the event.

And their racist fans were singing all the way, the men taking their shirts off to proudly display that they too, were white.

Their celebrating was of little doing by Zenit themselves, moreover Rangers not showing up to play, unable to hold on to the ball, sitting deep and absorbing what Zenit threw at them.

The first half proved to be an entirely one sided affair with Zenit taking all the possession, but doing little to nothing with it.

Both Rangers and Zenit were lucky not to give away penalties, both for handballs, Rangers nearly called in the first half, Zenit in the second.

The second half was more balanced, with Rangers having more possession and chances, but, alas, the goal that broke Scottish hearts came on 73 minutes, with a clever through ball splitting the Rangers' defence.

Rangers' response was non-forthcoming, changing formations to go 4-3-3, which ended up looking more like big-clump-small-clump chasing the ball around.

With virtually no defensive players left on the field, Zenit scored their second in the 93rd minute to finally crush Rangers' attempts at a comeback, sending their already delirious fans to a place of mad joy:

Their prized all white team had won UEFA's second biggest prize.

So why am I so incensed? Because it's not due to a Rangers' loss. It's that UEFA has just lain down and forgotten all it's been preaching about racism in football.

I'm sure most people have seen over the past few years, UEFA's campaign of "Kick Racism Out of Football," but I can't but help feel, UEFA just undid all their hard work by allowing Zenit to compete.

Anyone who can be bothered to look, and even those who aren't are well aware that coach Advocaat will not sign any non-white players because the fans do not tolerate them. And UEFA is allowing these fans' team to compete why?

Because now, you have every Zenit St. Petersburg fan running around, convinced that they're all white bigoted strategy is the right one, where in the world today, it is not, nor should it be tolerated as such.

Congratulations to UEFA on failing the ethnically diverse, and good people in general, and commiserations to Rangers.

Better luck next year.

Both of you.