“Real racism lies with the Football Associations” – Vincent Kompany on racism in football05 September 2019

BelgianinternationalfootballerVincentKompanyhasshiftedthedebateonrecentincidentsofracisminfootballstatingthatthe“realracismlieswiththefootballassociations.”

In an interview published by Standaard, Kompany highlighted a lack of diversity in European associations as exacerbating the problem, citing their failure to protect players like Romelu Lukaku, who was abused in Italy during a Serie A match for Inter Milan against Cagliari last weekend.

“They [the FAs] decide on the sanctions, while none of them has ever had to experience what Romelu is going through now,” said Kompany, who is currently at Anderlecht as a player-coach.

“It comes back to the people who decide on these matters. The problem lies in the organisations.

“The real racism lies in the fact that none of these organisations have representatives who actually understand what Romelu is going through. You have a crowd of people and policymakers who tell him how he should feel about this, but none of those policymakers have any understanding of what he has experienced in his life.

“That is the real problem. There is a lack of diversity in the governing bodies of UEFA, FIFA, the English or Italian Football Association. If you don’t have diversity in places of power such as boardrooms, then you will also not receive the correct penalties. It’s that simple.”

With the exception of FIFA, where the different continents are represented, and the Secretary General is an African woman, a lack of diversity at boardroom level has long been seen as a major problem.

The UEFA executive committee has only one board member of a non-European background and one woman (out of 20 members).

A report by Fare in 2014 found that across European football 0.6% of senior governance positions were held by ethnic minorities, and only 0.4% of senior executive roles were filled by ethnic minorities.