Ban people found guilty of racism from football stadiums, activist tells MFA

Equality activist Omar Rababah calls on the Malta Football Association to introduce measures against racism in the sport after a player was racially abused during a Premier League match over the weekend

Omar Rababah is advocating a tougher stand by the Malta Football Association to stamp out racism from football
Omar Rababah is advocating a tougher stand by the Malta Football Association to stamp out racism from football

People found guilty of racism should be banned from football stadiums, social worker and equality activist Omar Rababah has said in a list of proposals he sent the Malta Football Association.

Rababah urged the MFA to adopt a set of measures aimed at “combatting” racism in football after the latest incident that happened during the Premier League match between Floriana and Santa Lucia over the weekend.

Floriana strongly condemned the actions of one of its supporters who hurled racist slurs towards Santa Lucia goalkeeper Julani Archibald and the MFA said that it took note of the incident and will be taking the appropriate disciplinary action.

However, the MFA has been criticised for failing to take meaningful action against racism despite its commitment to stamp it out.

“I hope that this letter does not fall on deaf ears,” Rababah said in a Facebook post, in which he called for tough action by the MFA.

Rababah said concrete action must be taken to ensure racism is kicked out of football.

He recently hosted MaltaToday’s Maltin Bħalek, a series of interviews with black Maltese youths, which delved into the reality of racism they face in their daily lives.

Rababah suggested an independent disciplinary board, composed of people who are not current or former members of football clubs, which decides on incidents of racism.

He also said an anti-racism committee, composed of club committee members and anti-racism experts, be created to implement an educational programme on the issue.

Any people found guilty of racism should be suspended from local stadiums, Rababah proposed.

Rababah called on the MFA to introduce symbolic gestures before games, such as taking the knee, as is being done in the English Premier League, to provide “much-needed” awareness on the issue.

Police and stewards present in the stadium should also be trained to be able to identify racists gestures and remarks, according to Rababah, while emphasis should be made with match day referees so that racism in the ground and from the stands is not ignored.

Finally, Omar Rababah said placards should be introduced in stadiums, stating racism would not be ignored.