Since Neymar accused Alvaro Gonzalez, the OM player, of having uttered a racist insult against him – “mono” (monkey in Spanish) – the controversy has not weakened. New episode this Wednesday, at 6 p.m., in front of the headquarters of the French Federation Boulevard de Grenelle in Paris. About twenty members of SOS Racisme, accompanied by those of the Union of Jewish Students of France, gathered to protest “in the face of the inaction of the governing bodies of French football and above all to denounce the words of Noël Le Graët”.
Tuesday evening, on BFM Business, the president of the FFF had indeed blurted out: “In a match, there may be gaps. But we are less than 1% difficulty today. When a black scores a goal, the whole stadium is standing. The racist phenomenon in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist or hardly exists. “
Reached by phone this Wednesday, Dominique Sopo, president of SOS Racisme, did not mince words against the French leader. First of all, according to him, from the “non-reaction” of the referee, Mr. Brisard, to Neymar’s alert. “It is in itself a problem, he underlines, because it shows that we have an arbitration body which is not aware of these subjects and that when Neymar comes to talk to him about that, obviously the referee does not know not even how to react or feels he does not have to react. “
“A lack of awareness of the refereeing body”
And Sopo to decipher: “When we see that, behind, we have a leader like Noël Le Graët explain that, in any case, there is no problem of racism in football, we understand better why he does not there is no awareness-raising action worthy of the name at the level of the refereeing body ”.
For him, “this story is also a revelation of a total maladjustment on the part of a whole part of the leaders of French football in relation to the fight against racism.
Dominique Sopo then launches into a long explanation against Noël Le Graët. “I recall,” he said, “when he spoke out against stopping matches in the event of homophobic chants, he used the argument of racism by saying: If these are racist remarks, this is serious, we must stop. So we see how this leader who obviously has no sensitivity to these subjects and does not understand what it is, is ready to use in a rather cynical way the question of racism when asked to react on homophobia but when we talk to him about racism, there is no longer a problem, it no longer exists! “
“A form of tolerance to racism”
The president of SOS Racisme goes further: “I think that Noël Le Graët is a person who has a form of tolerance for racism which makes him say, moreover, that when one is Black, we are not the victim of racism since we are applauded when we score a goal. We are still on words that are worthy of the sketch of Thierry Le Luron: I’m not a racist, my dog is black. We are really in another era. We have a person who says that you have to be happy when you are black to be applauded when you score a goal! I think that, there, we are really in something ashamed as a type of comment and in an underestimation of what amounts to a crime ”.
For Dominique Sopo, the matter is therefore serious. “Especially in the current context, he believes. At a time of Black Lives Matter and new awareness of the dangerous effects of racism on society, we are faced with a French football leader who shows that he is no longer in his place, seems to me he. It is also a brake for these subjects to be really and seriously taken head-on, since he denies them. If there is no racism, why fight it? That’s what Noël Le Graët says. “
While PSG in particular is still looking for proof of the racist word uttered by Alvaro Gonzalez against Neymar, Dominique Sopo concedes that “we are not going to condemn someone if there is no proof”. But he insists that there is “something that is established is that Neymar thinks he has heard racist remarks and that there is no reaction from the referee”.
And to put a layer on Le Graët: “From the moment you have someone, who has been a kind of godfather of French football for years, who explains that there is no problem, what atmosphere it creates? An atmosphere of Move along, nothing to see. I hope that Vincent Labrune, who will take office in this somewhat particular context, will ensure that the League (LFP) takes the bull by the horns very seriously. “
SOS Racisme turns for its part to Roxana Maracineanu and the Ministry of Sports to “take all necessary measures so that these recurring outings of racism minimization by the leaders of sports federations are no longer tolerated”.