Vincent Kompany has warned racism in football has reached a “horrific level” in the boardrooms of FIFPro, the world’s leading refereeing body.
The Manchester City captain, who is a member of FIFPro’s executive committee, said clubs should be helping to tackle the issue rather than putting up “bogus arguments” in support of footballers who are being stopped by stewards for signs of racism.
Speaking on Monday ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Swansea on Saturday, Kompany said: “When you go into clubs now you don’t notice racist abuse but when you go back into the offices I have never experienced in my life from the boardroom, if there’s a chance you could cause trouble to any footballer if you say something and it changes somebody’s career, they are going to try to justify that and always go for the bogus arguments to turn it against the player.”
Kompany, who has been subjected to racist abuse himself, added: “It’s going to take a long time to eradicate racism because obviously every time we speak about it, it’s just because we like to be confident and talk about the problems that are in our game. I think at this stage, the way we have come back into football now, we are much stronger than ever but we have got to think it is not black and white.”
The current wave of racism in English football has been widely associated with abuse directed at Chelsea’s Ramires, who was forced to withdraw from Brazil’s World Cup squad this summer because of the threat of being sent home, but the Premier League’s top three clubs – Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United – have yet to be criticised publicly by the Football Association for the racism handed out to Luis Suárez and Tottenham’s Roberto Soldado last season.
The FA has ruled that it will offer no official punishment to Southampton for the disorder that enveloped the Saints’ bus on its way to a game at QPR in May, when a number of players were forced to remove their tops and stretch their torsos in the car park as missiles and flares were thrown at the vehicle. Suárez was handed an eight-match ban by the FA after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra last season.
Kompany added: “Every time it appears, every time that is about to settle down, a new incident comes out, there is always some sort of controversy.
“I don’t believe in the malicious attempts to create confrontation. It’s always been like that in our game since I’ve been a player but I have never experienced it from one of the top levels, there is always a reason to justify it.”
He said that he had spoken to the PFA president, Gordon Taylor, about the issue and claimed that many referees in Europe take a very strong stance on racist abuse.
“He [Taylor] says to me that you can’t change attitudes in the offices, it’s always going to come from the players,” said Kompany. “Of course, the more we talk about it, the more we realise it is a problem, we all support it and we all know that it’s a problem. It’s just a question of going back into schools, moving education, getting back into academies to have a big programme where the next generation will understand better and that’s a long, long process.”
Kompany was under investigation by his club’s coaching staff over alleged racial remarks made to him by opposition fans during City’s 3-0 defeat at Wolves on the opening day of the season. Wolves fans involved in the disturbance were barred from the ground and a statement from the Professional Game Match Officials (PGMO) said that City had suspended an employee identified by them “for gross misconduct”.
The 29-year-old Belgian defender, who has also received racist abuse during his career from sections of travelling Manchester City fans at the Etihad Stadium, said that the message being sent was that “they are good enough for us and we are not good enough for them”.