Extra Time with Netan Sansara

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Brit-Asian footballer shares his thoughts in an Exclusive Column

WALSALL-born Netan Sansara packed his bags and moved to Cyprus over the summer after putting pen to paper on a deal with PAEEK FC. In doing so he became the first British Asian player to feature in the Cypriot League.

In a series of Exclusive Columns with The Asian Today, Netan gives us his thoughts this month on…

 

… Sepp Blatter

To imply that racism on the pitch can be settled with a handshake is just appalling.

As President of FIFA, Blatter is the figure head of world football and for him of all people to make comments like this on the issue of racism is a total disgrace. He has stained world football.

 

…on Racism

I’ve been racially abused on the pitch, when people know you are from an Asian background- they hurl all sorts of abuse at you.

 

They say you should always do your talking on the pitch, but one controversial interview off the pitch has left us all – players, coaches and fans – flabbergasted.

Yes, I’m talking about Sepp Blatter’s remarks about racism in football.

To imply that racism on the pitch can be settled with a handshake is just appalling.

As President of FIFA, Blatter is the figure head of world football and for him of all people to make comments like this on the issue of racism is a total disgrace. He has stained world football.

I totally agree with all the criticism he is getting, and despite his apology, he should resign because making a comment like this makes me question whether this guy has the best interest of world football at heart. I don’t think he does.

A lot of players have come out and spoken about the issue which was very good in my opinion. It shows that the football community is still one community and together – united against racism.

His comments go to show how narrow minded and un-aware people are on the issue of racism in this day and age. It shows that people either think it doesn’t happen or if it does it’s a minor issue. Its clear more needs to be done on the issue!

Racism should be abolished totally from football and FIFA and Blatter should be doing all they can to prevent racism happening in football. There are so many players around the world of different nationalities and religions playing the game and it baffles me how this guy can make a hideous comment like this.

We have anti-racism groups in the UK like Kick It Out, for which I am an ambassador, and Show Racism the Red Card who try and tackle the issue in English football which is brilliant.

But FIFA need to tackle the issue on a world scale. Racism is a real big issue and it happens in football and every walk of life, it’s a subject that has to be dealt with accordingly certainly not over a handshake!

Blatter’s comments have stirred a lot of emotions in me mainly because I have been on the receiving end of racism during my playing career.

I am not going to mention when and where but playing away at some hostile grounds I have been called all sorts, when people know you are from an Asian background- they hurl all sorts of abuse at you.

This been from opposition fans and even from my own fans who think it is acceptable to racially abuse a player who wears the shirt of a team they support.

It happens but you have to be professional enough to report it and block it out of your game and concentrate on your football. I understand fans get frustrated and sometimes angry but being racist to somebody because of their race or colour of their skin is a total and utter disgrace and these people should be dealt with by the law. My advice to people who have been racially abused is to report it and let the law deal with it – this is the best way.

Racism doesn’t seem to be an issue here in Cyprus. So far – touch wood – everyone, from players to fans, have been great. It’s a lovely place and the fans are very passionate about football and express that passion in the right way which is brilliant.

We’ve had a really good run in the League over the past few weeks. An unbeaten November – winning two and drawing 1 – means we’re third in the League, just six points off top spot.

On a personal note I have started in every single game this season which is fantastic for me and we boast the best defensive record in the league which is a brilliant achievement for the team and long may it continue.

Unlike the UK, we have a Winter break from the middle of December to early January and I can’t wait to fly back to Walsall and spend Christmas with my family.

It will be the first time I have seen them since I moved over to Cyprus in the summer. I’ll only be home for a week as it’s important I don’t lose shape and rhythm going into a busy January. Hopefully we can maintain our form and enjoy our break and then return recharged ready to push for the Championship. The physical trainer has already warned me to keep away from my mum’s tasty roast potatoes and Christmas turkey and of course that FOREST GATEAU!  Oh the joys of Christmas!

To all the Asian Today readers have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Enjoy the family time. Take care guys.

Netan Sansara was talking to The Asian Today’s Zakia Yousaf

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