Batzine has opened a debate on racism in Spanish football and, more specifically, in the capital of Turia. The magazine, promoted by Valencia and published in Singapore, laments the behavior of a sector of black and white fans. “Cases abound in the League where racial slurs and gestures were directed at opposing players of a foreign or minority race. It would be naive to think that such racism is limited solely to rivalry between clubs or actions in the stadium. Peter Lim, the Singaporean billionaire owner of Valencia, had also been subjected to racial abuse online by his own fans for his alleged mismanagement of the club. Not only did some Valencia fans take to social media to express their dissatisfaction (with the hashtag #LimGoHome trending on Twitter), but the Lim family reportedly also received online harassment focused on their Chinese ethnicity. While the first reaction could be considered an understandable, albeit disproportionately abrasive response, the second line of action is undoubtedly unjustified and inexcusable, “says the publication.
The magazine also refers to an event that happened in the Premier League and related to a former Valencia coach: “What makes the current wave of racist incidents unique is that they are unfolding at a time when growing national populist sentiments and tribalism converge with a global pandemic, the latter precipitating unprecedented restrictions on freedom of movement. After the Manchester derby in December 2019, football commentator Gary Neville accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of deploying electoral rhetoric on immigration that fueled racist incidents in British sports. Less than a year later, much more extreme positions are being touted in American politics. It is clear that these political positions and the movements they generated around the world would have the effect of emboldening football fans who already harbor racist views and ignorant hatred. And it highlights the key role of social media.
«The exponential growth of social media platforms and functionalities meant that these misguided fans now have the ability to communicate and abuse any player in the world with astonishing ease, relative anonymity and seemingly without consequence. In addition, through social media, these wayward fans can meet and connect with other people who share their intolerant views, “he adds.
Finally, Batzine praises certain responses: «I would be remiss to end the discussion here. There are courageous and positive reactions against racism in football today that deserve to be emphasized and praised.. English Premier League footballers kneel before each match to show their support for the global anti-racism movement ‘Black Lives Matter’. Valencia’s first team players also knelt before a training session in June this year as a symbol of solidarity.