Tackling Racism Head On, The West Bromwich Albion Way

With just a couple of months left until the voting starts for the hosting of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals, it is perhaps unsurprising that a story should enter the public domain regarding racism that involves, to some extent, clubs from the two countries that are the current favourites to win the nomination to host the 2018 tournament. The controversy has involved the transfer of midfielder Peter Odemwingie from Lokomotiv Moscow to West Bromwich Albion. It has been reported that, when Odemwingie left Lokomotiv, he was greeted at his last match with a banner with a picture of a banana on it and message saying, “Thanks West Brom”. The argument turned faintly odd when the head of the Russian bid, Alexei Sorokin, stated that everybody had missed a subtle joke, stating that: I know that this banner applied to a certain player and to the manner of how he played in his last matches. Apparently fans were not happy with the fact that he plays better for Nigeria and worse for the club. That’s why they have shown their satisfaction after he left. And there is nothing racial in it. If there would be another player – from Russia, Denmark, Norway or Japan, for example – the reaction could be the same. In Russia ‘to get a banana’ means ‘to fail a test somewhere’. There are, without...

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