Moussa Marega Racially Abused During Game – The Buck Stops Here

On Monday, FC Porto registered a 2-1 away win against Vitoria de Guimaraes, seeing them edge to within one point of league leaders Benfica in the Portuguese top flight.

However, the game felt like an afterthought following the horrible events that took place in the 68th minute.

Less than ten minutes prior, Porto striker Moussa Marega put the visitors ahead. By the 68th minute, his joy had been turned into rage as Vitoria fans began to racially abuse him from the sidelines.

The French-born Malian was visibly enraged by the comments made, forcing him to walk off the field, ignoring the pleas from opposition players, his teammates and coaching staff to stay on the field.

The full video can be found below.

Not so long ago, we saw Italian striker Mario Balotelli (whose parents are Ghanaian) racially taunted by Lazio fans. The match on January 5th saw Lazio fined a mere 20,000 euros for the vile attacks.

Only two months prior to that, Balotelli booted the ball at the crowd and subsequently walked off the field after Hellas Verona fans displayed monkey chants in the 54th minute.

In spite of all the good that has been done in recent years to combat racism in our sport, some people don’t seem to fully comprehend just how hurtful their actions and words can be.

Racism, put simply has no place in today’s society. Whether it be on a soccer pitch, in a public place or on social media, all forms of racism should be called out and the individuals responsible should be held accountable.

Thankfully, in the case of the Hellas Verona ‘ultra’ who was at the centre of the attacks behind Balotelli, a significant ban was handed out.

But it is not enough. If you’ve seen the above videos, then you know just how much racist abuse can affect players.

They’ve all worked harder than you could possibly imagine to get to where they are now. They don’t deserve to be condemned simply because they look different than what people view as the norm.

In a world where people are growing to accept everyone for who they are regardless of race, gender, sex or otherwise, those people who are stuck in a different time need to be flushed out.

They need to be taught that it is simply unacceptable to call people out for being different.

When Balotelli was three, he was moved into foster care as his biological parents were too poor to cover his health bills. He was forced to bide his time between his foster parents and his biological ones.

All this happened after he and his family moved from the southernmost point of Italy to about as far north as you can go.

He wasn’t exactly born into a life of riches like some footballers are. He had to work his way from the ground up, fighting for every inch he could possibly get.

He has been able to forge a successful career for himself, winning three Serie A titles and the Champions League with Inter Milan.

He was also directly involved in the famous sequence of play that saw Sergio Aguero score the Premier League-winning goal for Manchester City in the 2011-2012 season.

No football fan alive today will ever forget the famous Martin Tyler call of “Balotelli….. Aguerooooo!” In assisting the Argentine, Balotelli forever wrote his name into footballing folklore.

But the sad fact remains that even in this time, there are those who want to bring him and players like Moussa Marega down to their levels.

Many fans are motivated to do this by jealousy. They look at these successful black players as they sit in the stands, envious of the money they make as professional players. The lives they live off the field. Their ability on the field.

It makes them sick that it’s not them in that position. Frankly, it makes everyone sick when these people decide to take out their anger and frustration on players who are undeserving of such attention.

What these people need to be taught is this.

If you were in their feet, as some have wished they would be, how would you like it if someone you’d never met or seen before began calling you names and making obscene gestures towards you for no other reason than you being different to them?

What if a random Twitter account began racially abusing you behind the safety of their computer screen?

It wouldn’t be a fun feeling and to wish that kind of treatment on players isn’t just reprehensible. It’s downright unfair.

Something else that needs to be taught to some is to let people make their feeling known. This particularly pertains to some of the teammates of Balotelli and Marega who insisted for them to not leave the field.

In the heat of the moment, it’s understandable to want your teammate to stay on the field as you try to win the game. But the fact of the matter is that they are protesting.

Them walking off the field is their way of saying that they won’t stand for racism. From this point onwards, players should try to understand what it is their teammate is fighting for.

In that moment, they need support. Join in the protest, don’t let the fans get what they want. Whatever needs to be done in that situation to show the racists what they’re doing isn’t right, do it.

These guys are your teammates after all. You’re supposed to have their back, no matter what.

By simply explaining this to players across the globe, helping them to understand that it is not right, things will take a turn for the better.

Because that’s what players such as Moussa Marega and Mario Balotelli are doing. Fighting against what’s wrong and fighting for what’s right and what is needed.

 

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Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

Federal Budget commits $97 million investment for sport programs

The 2024-25 Federal Budget, which was released on Tuesday night, includes more than $97 million over two years to the ASC to extend Sporting Schools, the Local Sporting Champions, and Local Para Champions programs, and participation funding to help more Australians get active.

This two-year extension runs until 30 June 2026 and helps kids of all different sports afford an opportunity to play at a local level if they come from and under privileged background.

Football Australia is a part of the Sporting Schools program, with each state offering participation Officers and local clubs that are ready to implement in-school and after-school programs for students of ages up to Year 8, plus all abilities programs.

Football Australia use this program to link local football clubs with schools to facilitate an ongoing relationship and provide further opportunity for students to continue their football journey outside of school, whether that be MiniRoos Kick Off, MiniRoos Club or Junior Football.

More than 24,000 young Australians will be supported with the Local Sporting Champions (LSC) and Local Para Champions (LSP) grants programs continuing for a further two years.

These are fantastic programs that have supported Australia’s best athletes including many Matildas like Courtney Nevin, Cortnee Vine, Alex Chidiac, Teagan Micah and Clare Hunt.

World Cup veteran’s Caitlin Foord and Ellie Carpenter also rose to success with assistance from the LSC program throughout their junior careers.

Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins OAM mentions the importance of this investment to continue critical national sporting programs.

“Once again, I want to thank Minister Wells and the Australian Government for their continued support and investment in Australian sport,” Perkins said in a statement.

“This funding extends critical sport participation programs like the Participation Grant program and Sporting Schools which provides free and fun sporting opportunities to more than two million students each year.

“This follows last week’s announcement of $249.7 million to upgrade the AIS Campus to ensure our athletes have access to the world’s best testing and training facilities, and accommodation ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit football amongst other sports and has a history of helping kids of all skill levels play in their respective sport.

The Federal Budget have put in almost $350 to improve sport, mostly around the 2032 Olympic Games but it is great to see some investment in the world game after the huge success of the Women’s World Cup last year.

The biggest Female Football Week to date draws to a close

Female Football week is at its climax across the country with each respective state firmly involved in what has been a monumental year of growth and perseverance with one of the hottest topics amongst the sporting plethora across the nation.

Symbolising the significant strides in which female football has made down under, off the back of its maiden World Cup hosting tenure.

Football Queensland throughout the grand occasion were busy shining a spotlight upon the continuous growth of participation, encouraging women of all ages to become involved and immersed within the global game.

Football Victoria – Commentary

Football Victoria (FV) celebrated women’s football week in style.

Round 8 of the National Premier League Women’s (NPLW) competition within Victoria was unique throughout its coverage, with every match throughout the round featuring a female commentator.

A monumental feat spearheaded by the FV Commentary team, this was the first time an all female commentary round was executed.

Football Queensland

FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci disclosed his appreciation for the momentous occasion via the FQ website.

“While celebrations like FFW serve as a crucial milestone in FQ’s journey towards achieving 50/50 gender parity by 2027 and helps to further reinforce our commitment to enhancing accessibility and inclusivity, our support is not confined to this week, as we remain dedicated to prioritising our female football community year-round.”

Football Queensland – Award Ceremony

Paying homage to Referees, Club Volunteers, Players and Community Champions of the year was conducted through awards up for grabs.

FQ showcased an award ceremony towards multiple facets of football throughout the state.

A nice incentive dedicated to the recognition and appraisal of the hard work undertaken by different areas of football.

The Female Football Week club of the year was awarded to Central Football Club following their extraordinary contribution to female football within Queensland.

Displayed throughout the clubs commitment to female football, the club are fully dedicated to the advancement of women’s football.

Harvesting a fostering environment throughout the club, alongside the nourishment of young promising female footballers has been symbolised by FQ.

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