Society’s problems don’t end at the gates of a soccer stadium, something that has been all too on-display recently after several high-profile incidents of racist chanting at soccer matches. First, England’s black players were targeted during a qualifying match in Montenegro. Then, teenage Italian phenom Moise Kean was racially abused by Caligari fans after scoring for Juventus in a Serie A game.
Lest you think the problem is confined to Eastern Europe or rural Italy, Manchester City and England striker Raheem Sterling has emerged as a strong voice highlighting the (often subtle) racism faced by black players in England. Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose said this week that he’s counting the days until he can retire and be done with it all.
Soccer organizations can’t fix society’s problems, but they can certainly send a strong statement that racism will simply not be tolerated or excused. FIFA encourages referees to follow a process that can halt, suspend or abandon a match if there is continued abuse, though most are loath to end a game. Clubs should support players who walk off the field when they are abused. Match forfeits and points deductions would hit offending teams where it really hurts – in the standings.
• The U.S. women’s national team won its final big test of its preparations for the World Cup, defeating Australia, ranked sixth worldwide, in a defense-optional 5-3 game. The team’s defense remains a major worry. The USA led 1-0 and 4-2 but had to scramble to defend at the end of the match before scoring a clincher with the final play of the game. This is the team’s last game this spring against a top-10 opponent.
• The USA’s dream of winning the CONCACAF Champions League isn’t impossible, technically, but it’s dead all the same. Sporting Kansas City has been one of the three best teams in MLS so far this year, but that counted for nothing when visiting Liga MX leaders Monterrey hammered SKC 5-0 in the Mexican leg of the two-legged semifinals. It’s been a rough year for teams north of the Rio Grande in the CCL, and yet again, a Mexican team will win the title.
Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund at Bayern Munich, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Ch. 9. This season feels like it might be Dortmund’s best chance. Bayern has won six consecutive titles, but with seven games to play, it’s Dortmund that has a two-point lead in the table. Bayern is already reloading for next year, big spending that BVB can’t match. A tie for Dortmund would feel like a victory, and Dortmund must seize the opportunity. It could be its only one.
Writer Jon Marthaler gives you a recap of recent events and previews the week ahead. email@example.com