Drogba criticised after accusing football chiefs of prioritising homophobia sanctions over racism
Didier Drogba has been criticised by his own supporters after appearing to accuse football chiefs of prioritising sanctions for homophobia over racism as he threw his support behind Vinicius Jnr.
The Real Madrid star was the subject of horrific racist abuse during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Valencia on Sunday – the 10th occasion this season alone he has been targeted by racism at games.
Valencia have since been punished by the Spanish FA, who forced them to close the Mario Kempes stand at the Mestalla stadium for five matches, along with being fined £40,000 for the ‘very serious offences’.
Valencia say police have identified a fan who made racist gestures at Vinicius and that individual faces a lifetime stadium ban from the Mestalla after Real filed a race crime complaint.
Vinicius has received widespread support from the majority of the football community, with Rio Ferdinand, along with fellow Brazilians Ronaldo and Raphinha showing solidarity with the forward.
Didier Drogba has been criticised after he accused football chiefs of prioritising sanctions for homophobia over racism
Real Madrid star Vinicius Jnr was subjected to horrific racist abuse during their loss to Valencia
And former Chelsea striker Drogba joined them but created controversy with what he said.
He tweeted: ‘This has to stop NOW. When will Federations, Leagues, @uefa_official @fifa punish these clubs the way they are quick to punish players when they refuse to stand for a community that is against their beliefs for example?
‘We’ve had all the talking, the outrage, the kneeling, the statements NOW WE NEED THE ACTIONS!!!!! Is the fight for equality not for all ???
‘I mean is the fight against racism not important enough? You can’t hide the sun with the hand, keep on shining bro @vinijr we stand TOGETHER in this.’
While Drogba received support for his words behind Vinicius, he came under fire for what he seemed to insinuate with his tweet.
One individual replied: ‘Standing up for victims of racism, but not victims of homophobia, is that what you’re saying, Didier? What a disappointment you are.’
Another supporter added: ‘Nothing like a bit of bigotry on bigotry action, eh.’
A further fan said: ‘Awful first paragraph, Didier. We all want to fight for equality, but the best (and only) way to do that is not by belittling other causes. Racism and homophobia are two huge issues in football, neither of which are dealt with in any capacity by FIFA, UEFA, etc.’
It is the 10th time this season the Brazilian forward has had to deal with racism during games
Drogba threw his support behind Vinicius, but the former Chelsea striker received criticism for appearing to accuse football chiefs of prioritising sanctions for homophobia over racism
This was echoed elsewhere with others piling in on the former Chelsea striker as one said: ‘Be better than that, Didier. Racism and homophobia are two sides of the same bigoted coin. Same organisational fail to act for both,’ before another added: ‘They should absolutely take a stronger stance on racism, but no need to bring homophobia into it as a defence. The point stands on its own.’
There have been some strong recent examples of players being punished for homophobia, with 17 10-match bans handed out to players or officials in Scotland’s professional leagues earlier this year after they were found guilty of homophobic slurs.
Elsewhere, Idrissa Gana Gueye caught the headlines last season when the Everton midfielder – then playing for PSG – reportedly refused to play in a match promoting an anti-homophobia campaign.
Gueye was then reportedly summoned by the French Football Federation’s Ethics Committee to explain his absence.
During the same campaign this year, five Toulouse players reportedly refused to play in protest and were left out of their matchday squad against Nantes – although none have faced punishment.
Drogba’s representatives insist that he was not referring to homophobia in his tweet.
Many of Drogba’s followers and fans took issue with what he had outlined in his tweet
Following the racist abuse on Sunday, Vinicius took to social media to say LaLiga belongs to ‘racists’ and ‘in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists’.
The 22-year-old wrote: ‘It wasn’t the first time, not the second and not the third. Racism is normal in La Liga.
‘The competition thinks it’s normal, so does the Federation and the opponents encourage it. I am so sorry.
‘The championship that once belonged to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Cristiano and Messi, today belongs to the racists.
‘A beautiful nation, which welcomed me and I love, but which accepted to export the image to the world from a racist country.
‘Sorry for the Spaniards who do not agree, but today, in Brazil, Spain is known as a country of racists. And unfortunately with everything that happens on a weekly basis, I have no way to defend.
‘I agree. But I’m strong and will go to the end against the racists. Even though its far from here.’