Football’s diverse landscape remains polluted by racists despite our outrage | Andrew Anthony

If the scourge of the game is to be stamped out, then Fifa cannot be soft on transgressors

L ast Monday Fifa’s The Best football awards were held at La Scala opera house in Milan. It was, as usual, an excruciating affair, full of turgid speeches and embarrassing links by the presenters. But amid this face-reddening fanfare the president of Fifa, Gianni Infantino, appealed to the audience of football celebrities on a serious matter. He noted that there had been another episode of racism in Italian football at the weekend and declared: “We have to say no to racism in whatever form.”

A short while later, Megan Rapinoe, winner of the women’s player of the year award, ribbed Infantino for stealing her thunder because she wanted to be the person to address these issues. Then she name-checked “Raheem Sterling and [Kalidou] Koulibaly” for taking on racism. “If we really want to have meaningful change,” she told the gathered stars, “then what I feel would be most inspiring would be if everybody other than Raheem Sterling and Koulibaly [was] as outraged about racism as they are.”

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