'Life ban' call over racial abuse of Mohamed Salah

Salah was taunted during Liverpool's 1-1 draw at West Ham. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019

'Life ban' call over racial abuse of Mohamed Salah

  • Police given evidence after an investigation into Islamophobic abuse shouted at Egyptian ace.
  • Football Against Racism in Europe call for life bans for those found guilty of racial abuse.

LONDON: West Ham United have handed evidence to the police after completing an investigation into Islamophobic abuse shouted at Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah during their Premier League clash at the London Stadium
on Monday.
A video emerged on social media in which audible racial slurs were directed at the Egypt and Reds star man as he was taking a corner. The match finished in a 1-1 draw.
The user who posted the video on Twitter said: “I went to watch West Ham vs Liverpool and I was disgusted by what I was hearing. People like this deserve no place in our society let alone football matches.”
The Metropolitan Police had said that officers were in the process of reviewing the footage and West Ham have now revealed that they have given all of their evidence to the police.
Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini has demanded a life ban for the culprits, and a West Ham statement said: “After a thorough and immediate investigation following the abhorrent racist abuse aimed at Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah on Monday night, West Ham United can confirm that it has handed evidence to the Metropolitan Police.
“The Club is unequivocal in its stance — such abuse will not be tolerated. There is no place or excuse for this kind of behavior.”
While there have undoubtedly been great strides taken in football to tackle racist abuse from the stands, the sorry Salah abuse follows allegations of discriminatory chanting by Chelsea and Millwall supporters in recent weeks.
Piara Powar, the executive director of anti-discrimination charity FARE ((Football Against Racism in Europe), described the number of recent incidents of reported racism as “alarming”, and added that closing stadiums may be the only logical next step in combating abuse.
“The number and frequency of recent incidents in England is quite alarming,” Powar said. “Football seems to have a rump of fans who have trouble accepting the diversity of our country. I also think it points to the divisions that have opened up in the UK since Brexit.
“I think the FA must get a grip on the problem,” Powar added. “They do a lot of good work, but they should use the powers they have to close stadiums, and ban and fine clubs. The FA regulations allow for it, but the measures are rarely used.”
Since his move to Liverpool Salah has been a transformative figure, breaking down barriers. Go to Anfield and, once the rousing rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has died down, it is likely you will next hear the Liverpool fans’ hymn to Salah. Sung to the tune of “Good Enough” by Britpop band Dodgy, it goes like this: “If he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be a Muslim, too.” That he has been welcomed with open arms and lauded — albeit in a city with a tradition of tolerance — is to be applauded, not least at a time when Islamaphobic attacks in the UK are on the rise.
Salah was last year named PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year after he scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season.
The Egyptian ace will be key in the Reds’ search for their first league title since 1990, Liverpool face Bournemouth at home today.


SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

Photo/Supplied
Updated 13 July 2020

SFA launches Saudi Arabia’s first walk-run event in the summer

  • Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months

RIYADH: The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) has announced its first outdoor event of the summer season, a series of competitive walk-runs called Step Together.
The first Step Together virtual walk-run is open to individual and teams. Participants can register from July 17 until the closing date of July 26.
Adults taking part can choose to complete either a 42 kilometer full marathon or a 21 kilometer half marathon over a period of 10 days, commencing on July 17. Children under the age of 15 taking part in the challenge will complete a shorter 10 kilometer race over the same period.
The event is the first organized by the SFA since lockdown restrictions were eased. It is designed to appeal to all ages, abilities and demographics by offering both walk and run options. Participants who meet the distance goals will be awarded with finishing medals and electronic certificates celebrating their achievement.
Participants will be able to use their own preferred digital fitness tracker. They will upload data and images every day to the race platform to register progress and compare their results with other participants on the race leaderboard.
Community sports groups (CSGs) are also encouraged to join Step Together, with the event featuring an exclusive leaderboard for groups. Members of CSGs can complete simultaneously in both individual and group categories.
Registered users will each receive email confirmations with a unique link and instructions for the Race Result platform.
The dedicated link allows each participant to enter distance and elapsed time each day, validated by a screenshot from any digital fitness tracker.
A results tab on the platform allows users to enjoy friendly competition and compare results with other participants.
There are also leaderboards for various categories on the same page, including age, gender and distance.
Staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, the Step Together walk-run series aims to contribute to Vision 2030 by ensuring that physical activity levels are maintained and grow during the summer months.
The aims to promote a renewed excitement and energy for outdoor fitness.
A recent SFA report said there was a 60 percent increase in walking in Saudi Arabia since March, while running became 30 percent more popular.
The report added that the increases mainly came from people who were previously less active.
The SFA aims to further encourage enjoyment of physical fitness within this demographic.

Step Together participants can register on the Race Result platform at sfa.sa/STen.