Racism in football. This is a topic that many Africans have become accustomed to especially in professional football.
Many a times you have heard of a black player who has been abused along skin color lines. Some African footballers have had to endure the excruciating moments of being subjected to monkey chants. Even more worse, some fans have even gone further to throw bananas to black players on the pitch.
All this is just to name but a few of the vices that black players are facing just because of their skin color.
And as if that is not enough, a new study has revealed that black players are now facing racial bias even in football commentary.
A one of its kind study conducted by RunRepeat in partnership with The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has revealed that commentators praised players with lighter skin tone as more intelligent, higher quality and hardworking than players with darker skin ton.
The study titled “Racial Bias in Football Commentary” analysed 2,073 statements from commentators in 80 soccer matches in England, Italy, Spain and France, from the 2019/20 season.
The study also reveals that players black players are more likely to be reduced to their physical characteristics or athleticism (pace and power) than players with lighter skin tone.
According to the findings posted on runrepeat.com, the study shows that;
- When commentators talk about intelligence: -62.60% of praise was aimed at players with lighter skin tone -63.33% of criticism was aimed at players with darker skin tone
- When commentators are talking about power they are 6.59 times more likely to be talking about a player with darker skin tone
- When commentators are talking about speed they are 3.38 times more likely to be talking about a player with darker skin tone
- When commentators talk about work ethic, 60.40% of praise is aimed at players with lighter skin tone
PFA Equalities Executive Jason Lee says that in order to address the real impact of structural racism, the football fraternity has to acknowledge and address racial bias.
“Commentators help shape the perception we hold of each player, deepening any racial bias already held by the viewer. It’s important to consider how far-reaching those perceptions can be and how they impact footballers even once they finish their playing career.”