27 May 2023 – South African Football Association (SAFA) President Dr Danny Jordaan will write to FIFA and request the world governing body to investigate whether there’s link between the racial abuse of players during games and match manipulation.
Dr Jordaan is one of the millions of people around the world who were horrified when Real Madrid star Vinícius Jr was racially abused by fans at Mestalla Stadium during a La Liga match against Valencia on Sunday (21 May 2023). This led to the game being halted for 10 minutes.
“You know, 25 May is a celebration of Africa Day and Africa Day focusses on Africa being the best the continent can be, its successes and its achievements. And always in May something happens,” the SAFA President said.
“The month of May has strangely always reminded us that we have a lot of work to do. On 25 May 2020 George Floyd was murdered in the streets of Minneapolis, USA. He died after a white police officer pressed his knee on his neck and choked him for nine minutes“.
Dr Jordaan said the trend of incidents happening in May would continue again in 2023 when Vinícius Jr was racially abused by fans at the Mestalla Stadium.
“Now on 23 May 2023 we had the terrible racist incident where one of the Brazil superstars, Vinícius Jr, was abused on the field of play. And what made it worse is the fact that he was given a red card for the way he reacted to the incident. This was not the first time he was abused at stadiums – it was the 10th time that he was subjected to racial abuse in La Liga. The question is what must be done about this?
“So in my address to COSAFA (during the Council of Southern Africa Football Association’s AGM in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Friday 26 May 2023) I said certainly we must do something about it. Therefore, I am going to submit a proposal to FIFA that the governing body must look at whether racism (during matches) can be placed in the context of match manipulation.
“Match manipulation to me is when people outside the field of play try to influence the outcome of a match. This is certainly what the fans are doing, and what the referee has done (during the Real Madrid vs Valencia match). In fact, in the match manipulation regulations it states that if a referee issues unwarranted red cards and yellow cards, it can be interpreted as match manipulation. So I am going to submit the proposal to FIFA because every single African player has gone through the same thing as Vinícius Jr. You speak of Abedi Pele, you speak of George Weah, you speak of Didier Drogba and you speak of Samuel Eto’o, among others. Now the current generation of players are going through the same thing. It must stop and we will be part of that process to deal with racism on the football field.”