Most pro football teams don't know how to deal with racism from spectators: report

The vast majority of professional football teams have not discussed what to do when spectators shout racist slurs from the stands, something that is a common occurrence in football in the Netherlands, according to a study by EenVandaag and players' union VVCS. They questioned 28 of the 38 captains in the Eredvisie and Eerste Divisie.

Ten of the 28 surveyed footballers said that they experience racism during matches at least a few times every six months. Four captains said it happens every match. Most incidents involve racist slurs shouted from the stands. Most captains told the researchers that such incidents are rarely discussed with the team.

Only a few teams in the top divisions have made agreements on how to respond to such racist chants. 21 of the 28 surveyed captains said they have no plan. Some said that there are no firm agreement, but they will respond if racism occurs. "We are a unit, so I think at that moment we will say from ourselves 'We are stopping'," one captain said. 

After racists slurs were shouted at Excelsior footballer Ahmad Mendes Moreira during a match against FC Den Bosch in November, football association KNVB and the government came up with a number of measures to tackle racism in football. The measures will officially be announced on Saturday, but a number of them have already leaked.

The captains are positive about most of the measures, especially cameras to track down guilty spectators, stadium bans, and criminal prosecution. They also support stopping a match in the event of racist chants. 21 of the captains think that the KNVB and government are taking sufficient measures to tackle racism. 

In addition to these penalties, the captains would also like to see more awareness of this problem. "A lot is being done to address supporters who misbehave. However, awareness can still be improved. Awareness will hopefully increase social control," one captain said. 

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