Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Walloons are Poop": Soccer Fans Strike Again

French daily Le Monde reports that the Belgian Soccer Federation has ruled that fans may chant "Walloons are poop!" (Les Wallons, c'est du caca). Despite the fact that Flemish fans chanted in French to further provoke the Walloon team, the chant is "playful and teasing," federation officials argue, not "hurtful or injurious."

Even though they are white, Walloons are something of a minority in Belgium where many Flemish speakers look down on them as being, well... poop. This ruling by the Belgian Federation seems to undermine UEFA's recent campaigns condemning racism and promoting respect among fans.

Just last weekend French police arrested a fan of Le Havre when he shouted racist slurs at minority players from Marseille. Granted, what the Le Havre fan did was meaner than chanting "Walloons are poop!" but the message French authorities are sending is much clearer than that being sent by the Belgian Federation.

So while I suppose it's better than throwing poop on them (or the more conventional Soccer standard: bags of warm urine), and while it pales in comparison to what is chanted when the two Glasgow teams meet, the powers that be should condemn the name calling, even if they do not hand out a penalty to the team. Chanting "Your team is poop!" is one thing (it's even better than the "F*** you, BYU!" I've heard chanted at American college football games). But demeaning a linguistically and ethnically distinct people in the name of sport should not be flippantly encouraged by soccer's administrators.

(Thanks to Scott for sending me the link to Le Monde.)


Robert J. Hudson said...

I think the most suitable (and, perhaps, more honest) approach to solving this problem would be for the Belgian Soccer Federation to eliminate the finger-pointing and universally adopt the slogan: "Le football belge, c'est du caca!"

Anonymous said...

I must agree w/ Robert. The Belgies do cycling, football? not so much...

Corry Cropper said...

I've been laughing all day: "Le football belge, c'est du caca!" I hope they're reading this in Gent.