Oz soccer body insists ``zero tolerance policy`` towards racism
Sydney: A soccer governing organization in Victoria has insisted that its "zero tolerance" policy towards racism on the pitch has helped clean up the game.
Sudanese players from the Sunshine Heights Western Tigers claimed that they are contemplating walking away from the sport they love because they are sick of being racially abused in games across Melbourne, while some have even alleged they have been called "black monkeys" by opponents every weekend.
The team claims a racist taunt of "black c----" sparked a brawl between the players and opponents and opposition fans from Tullamarine City at Tullamarine last month, where police were called to break up the fight, and players from both sides were injured. The match was abandoned and declared a 0-0 draw.
Football Federation Victoria (FFV) CEO Mark Rendell said the brawl was an "isolated incident", and expressed disappointment to hear that the Sunshine Heights players were considering walking away from the league.
“That``s disappointing to hear. I know we``ve already organised a meeting with the club and the local council and local authorities to discuss the issue," a newspaper quoted Rendell, as saying.
“We can only act on what we know. If there is racism occurring then we``d encourage them to report it and it will be taken very seriously,” he added.
Rendell said the FFV was trying to stamp out racial taunts in suburban games across Melbourne and acknowledged that racism was a society-wide problem, but not as bad as it was four years ago when the organisation introduced a "zero tolerance" approach towards penalising players and teams found guilty of misconduct.