Beesotted on BBC Radio 5 Live Talking World Cup Russia and Racism

Beesotted on BBC Radio 5 Live Talking World Cup Russia and Racism

Billy Grant from Beesotted talks on the BBC Five Live drive time show alongside Pavel Klymenko, The Eastern Europe Correspondent from FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe), and journalist Ivan Kalashnikov (Иван Калашников) from Sports.ru about the forthcoming World Cup in Russia and the fear of racism and violence from Russian football fans

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BillytheBee Grant

Following Brentford for 30 years plus now .. write .. blog .. videoblog .. podcast ... photograph ...eat .. sleep .. Brentford .. am known to attend the occasional England match too (12 tournaments now) so am hardened to failure ... On the board and national council of the Football Supporters Federation. ... organised husky dog racing for a living back in the day ... as you do .. You don't wanna go up!!

1 Comment

  1. HerzyBee

    Billy et al,

    Excellent interview and contribution to the debate…..I wish you a great World Cup, but, and it is a big but….listening to the Russian interviewee, and my own personal knowledge of the Eastern European culture, I think FIFA and all the football authorities are taking a big optimistic breath in and hoping.

    Racism, anti-semitism and homophonic behaviour is deeply rooted in Russian, and most Eastern European countries culture. The reasons are complex and historical. We, British, are far ahead in our outlook on the world (far far from perfect I accept) and our tradition of openness to other races and cultures is, due to, in no small way, out history as a maritime trading nation, what took us around the world, returned with knowledge, goods and openness to other cultures. ( yes I know…and slaves, but that’s another debate)

    The Eastern European nations, for the most part, are landlocked and historically had not been exposed to black, Asian and foreign culture. Sorry if this seem a bit of a Janet and John simplistic opinion, but it’s my view, so there.

    But, how do we change the experience for fans travelling to tournaments and matches in these nations?

    Well, of course, there is no easy silver bullet, as was said during the broadcast, Russian authorities are thought to be sanitising the streets of the ultras and extremists for the month, but the problem will never go away until the underlying causes are addressed. How do we, or they, do that……
    .Educate and legislate……is the direction of travel of course……but that is a long, long journey, behind the old Iron Curtain, one could safely say that culture and society is probably some 30-50years behind our journey to true multiculturism and enlightenment…..my own paternal family were of Polish origin, and I saw and experienced how pre and post WW2 how widespread reactionary forces had made the culture anti-Semitic, which is a form of racism, and a complete lack of exposure to other races had, by default implanted skin colour racism.

    In my first visit to Poland, in the mid 60’s, I can’t recall seeing one non-Caucasian face….communism of course, severely restricted travel in and out of the country…..it’s quite different now, but massively behind our point in time and a long way to go.

    Legislate….well, I don’t know or have experience of the legal framework of the former Eastern Bloc nations, but I suspect their anti racist laws are somewhat behind ours.

    But never give up hoping that one day, we won’t have these fears and concerns……FIFA though have a long history of not being aware, or even caring about fans and their safety, but it should never be an issue, we should be able to do the Billy Grant thing…….travel in expectation and anticipation of visiting a country and freely mixing with the host population and experiencing the flavour and culture of the nation….
    Ersonally, I like to try all the local beers too……but back to FIFA…..their choice of venue for the 2022 World Cup just cements my belief that they just don’t care………

    How to wrap up……..well, I’d be interested in comments…..

    COYB

    Reply

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