Late last year during a friendly match between Spain and England, the Spanish fans exhibited what many feel was some of the most blatant and wide spread racist behavior seen at a match in some time.  As expected there was little official action by the governing boards. Most folks in the US likely never even heard about it unless they regularly read SoccerNet.

Via Steve Gilliard, The Observer has an excellent article on the subject of racism in European Football.

The events at the Bernabéu have poisoned the atmosphere not only in football but also in the wider society. This is the price now being paid for the RFEF’s support for Aragonés’s racism and their refusal to condemn the racist behaviour that scarred the England game. Even the Spanish government has moved reluctantly, promising action while doing virtually nothing. Extraordinarily, the Anti-Violence Commission – which was established in response to the violence at football grounds, some of it racially inspired – has not a single representative from the ethnic minorities.

Read the entire article. It is very well written and thoughtful. I long for the days when American media spent the time to explore the wide reaching implications of topics in American society.  Most Americans, when you ask about European football problems, will respond about the English hooligans.  But racism is a real problem that needs to be dealt with in European society (and others like our own of course) and as the writer points out – football is very indicative of where European society is because it’s so ingrained in their culture.  While soccer only seems to be deeply ingrained in our youth activity culture here in the US, professional soccer is making inroads (notice how most satellite companies are carrying more and more matches?).  Lets hope we can rise above this type of racism on our domestic pitches.