Samuel Eto’o Recognised For Anti-Racism Work
Cameroonian star striker Samuel Eto’o has been recognised for his work and stance against racism in football by receiving the Medal of Tolerance from the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR).
The handover of the award took place at a gala dinner event at Kensington Palace in London.
The Sampdoria striker, who previously played for European football giants Inter Milan and Barcelona, was supported at the event by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Liverpool and Cote D’Ivoire defender Kolo Toure and former Chelsea and Barcelona midfielder Deco.
The former African Player of the Year (four times) has been dogged by racism on various occasions throughout his career, with two of the major incidents taking place during his time in Spain with Barca.
In 2005 Eto’o was the target of heavy abuse from opposing Real Zaragoza fans, who made monkey chants directed at the striker.
In 2006 fans of the same club were once again at the centre of racial abuse directed at the former Cameroon international, and he was so upset by the ridiculous behaviour of the supporters that he tried to walk off the pitch before his team-mates urged him to continue, in order to spite the fans and show his stand against racism.
Thinking back to that unfortunate memory, Eto’o mentioned it during his address to those gathered at the gala event after receiving the ECTR Medal of Tolerance.
“Since that day, I decided I will stand up and fight against abuse,” he said to the media and stakeholders at the gala event. “The only path is to stand up and shout.”
Eto’o asked for footballers and authorities who are in charge of the game to take a hard stance on racism and to punish the incidents severely.
“Only we can make it stop. Because for certain, nobody is going to do it for us. If we give a 300-euro fine, you will see them doing it again,” he added.
The ECTR is a non-governmental group which promotes understanding between communities and monitors the prevalence of xenophobia in Europe. Most of the members of the ECTR are former presidents and prime ministers from various European countries.
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