FIFA has recently outlined big penalties to be imposed on teams whose fans engage in racial abuse. About time too considering some of the stuff that has been happening in the Italian and Spanish leagues in recent years in which UEFA have punished with fines that amount to being hit with a leaf of wet lettuce.
That little bit of football (old) news leads to my introduction to a story out of Sydney concerning cricket and the upcoming Ashes (only about 15 months away).
I quote an AAP report in the SMH:
Australian fans could be kicked out of cricket grounds at this year's Ashes series for calling an English player a "Pommy bastard".
That is the word from Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland as he attempts to clamp down on racial abuse after South African players were subjected to racist taunts from the crowd last summer.
"I would have thought so, yeah, I would have thought if it is regarded as a racist comment then yes," Sutherland told AAP.
I never considered "Pommy bastard" as racist. Abusive when shouted at full bore to a fielder on the ropes, but in almost every other case said in the spirit of the fierce competition that is the entire relationship between England and Australia.
There is no way that the word "bastard" is racially offensive (you'll more often hear it as a term of endearment in Australia) so the racist word must be "pommy". Now in Australia the term "pommy" refers to any Englishman, in the same way that the Yanks call them "limeys".
Then there is the arguement that the English are in fact a different race. I've always considered them as being, shall we say, "different", but if I had to put myself into a racial catagory I'd say probably that I'm "English".
All too weird for me, but I'd be interested in what some of our English readers think. Add a comment, you can also leave the comment "anonymous" if you are shy.
EDIT: Just found this piece of history from the SMH.
During the controversial Bodyline series of 1932-33, the English captain Douglas Jardine was said to have visited the Australian dressing room to complain bitterly to his counterpart Bill Woodfull that an Australian player had called him a bastard.
Woodfull turned to his team and said: "Which one of you bastards called this bastard a bastard?"