I read the news this morning on Chelsea’s making a formal complaint on the racial abuse by Malaysian soccer fans against their player Yossi Benayoun with dread. I posted my anger,shame and disappointment on this unfortunate incident earlier. In fact I was hoping this issue would not resurface though secretly I was thinking the Malaysian Football Association should not be left scot free. They should take measures to stamp out this menace from our football scene. Who else could do this if not us Malaysians? So perhaps Chelsea is right in submitting the formal complaint to Malaysian Football Association and hopefully not to FIFA and teach Malaysians some international manners! Political sentiments should not be mixed with sports.
Our political leaders should have come out earlier to appeal to the fans not to practice this apparent racist sentiment and thus appear to have somehow shown to the world that the incident was an isolated one and it is not our culture in this multi-cultural country to act that way. Yet, not a single word from those who are supposed to protect the image of the country. Neither did our Malaysian Football Association issue a formal apology to Chelsea and promise to investigate so that this kind of infraction will not recur. In short no bloody damage control at all! (Sorry my lingo as I am pretty riled up right now).
We are not ready to be on the world stage if we are still trapped in this mind set. Now the so-called racial taunting has been ascribed to as anti-Semitism. Think about it if you were an anti-Semite, you are actually also against the Arabs as they have been classified to be in this group of people. I thought majority Malaysians love the Arabs so much despite the glaring unacceptable cultural practices not in sync with civil societies.
Just as well we did not win the World Cup Qualifying round against “foreign-players’ laden” Singapore! Imagine if we were to play against an Israeli team later! I just cannot see our people being able to discriminate between sports and racial sentiments for as long as our mainstream media insists on indoctrinating our young on negative religiosity and thinly-veiled racism.
I am proud to be Malaysian but somehow my pride is tempered by sadness at the xenophobia that is prevalent in our community and that is ever ready to rear its ugly head irrespective of the setting.
I just like to re-post the news on Chelsea’s action:
Chelsea lodge Benayoun racism complaint
(AFP) – 14 hours ago – July 28 2011
LONDON — Chelsea have lodged an official protest with the Malaysian Football Association over what they said was racist abuse suffered by their Israeli player Yossi Benayoun in Kuala Lumpur last week.
The midfielder was booed and jeered whenever he touched the ball in the 1-0 win against Malaysia in the capital of the Muslim-majority country last Friday.
Benayoun was the first Israeli to play in Malaysia, which strongly supports the Palestinians and does not recognise Israel, maintaining no diplomatic ties with the country. Some 60 percent of Malaysia’s population is Muslim.
Chelsea had initially downplayed the abuse, saying after the game it was as a consequence of a bad tackle by the Blues midfielder.
But after reviewing the match the Premier League giants announced they had decided to make a formal complaint.
A statement on the club’s website read: “Notwithstanding most fans behaving appropriately on the night, we believe Yossi was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by a number of supporters at the game.
“Such behaviour is offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football.
“The club did not make representations at the time as it was initially unclear as to the nature of the abuse Yossi received, as several players from both teams experienced similar treatment, sometimes louder and longer.
“However, having taken time to consider the issue fully, it has become apparent that a formal complaint was necessary.
“Our stay in Malaysia was, on the whole, a very positive experience for all the team travelling on the pre-season tour. It is a shame, therefore, that the behaviour of a minority of supporters is also a memory we take away.”
A Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that “mischievous people” were to blame for the abuse.
“FAM did not anticipate this reaction from the crowd. FAM has not investigated the matter yet,” the official said, adding that the association expected to release a statement in due course.
FAM secretary-general Datuk Azuddin Ahmad told AFP he had no comment to make before the association met to discuss the matter.
Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. »