Football is standing up to right-wing racism at the best possible time

Gary Neville and Boris Johnson
Ed Sykes

As the billionaire media’s longstanding anti-Labour propaganda continues, football institutions are standing up to racism from the Conservative Party and its supporters. And with the 2019 election just days away, this could hardly come at a more important time.

Boris Johnson and co are ‘fuelling racism’

England football legend Gary Neville, for example, took aim at notorious bigot Boris Johnson. He noted a link between Johnson’s rhetoric on immigration and growing racism, saying:

It fuels it all the time. And essentially, it’s something that’s got worse in the last three years in this country

Start your day with The Canary News Digest

Fresh and fearless; get excellent independent journalism from The Canary, delivered straight to your inbox every morning.




Johnson and his party have a horrific record of bigotry of all kinds. They are also facing an Islamophobia crisis at the moment, along with increasing allegations of antisemitism. Here are just some of the most famous examples of Johnson’s own chauvinism:

Johnson doesn’t just slip up, though. His whole career essentially seems to be a long list of insults against women, ethnic minority groups, religious minority groups, the LGBTQIA+ community, and working-class people. And that’s why many people were grateful to Neville for speaking out:

Neville, meanwhile, wasn’t the only figure in football to have called Johnson out recently:

The hard-right billionaire media are in on it too

The Conservative Party is in bed with Britain’s billionaires, and they back it to the hilt as a result. They dominate the UK’s media environment, pushing their clear anti-Labour position far and wide with little interest in balance. Even the supposedly impartial BBC has faced fierce criticism for its alleged anti-Labour bias.

The papers of billionaire tax avoider Rupert Murdoch, however, are among the main backers of the elitist Tory project. And the Sun in particular, which reaches more people than any other paper, represents the worst of the worst in terms of racism. Satirical artist Darren Cullen has slammed the Sun for its “long history of demonising communities… thought to have some kind of latent support for terrorism”. In the past, it targeted Irish communities, and it later moved on to Muslims. One column, for example, described refugees as “cockroaches”.

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) previously accused the Sun and other hard-right outlets of fuelling negative “stereotypes” amid rising numbers of hate crimes. ECRI chair Christian Ahlund said in 2016:

It is no coincidence that racist violence is on the rise in the UK at the same time as we see worrying examples of intolerance and hate speech in the newspapers, online and even among politicians.

Football fans, meanwhile, have long boycotted the Sun for its disgusting coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. And Liverpool FC in particular has a ban on Sun employees reporting from its stadium. In fact, reports on 7 December suggested that the team could be sacrificing a chance to host an England game because of its ongoing boycott.

Stand up to the toxic elitist alliance
It’s great to see football institutions calling out bigotry. But it’s not just the putrid alliance between Johnson and hard-right billionaire rags that we need to resist. Because there’s also evidence that sections of the “military/intelligence establishment” are also part of that alliance:

On 12 December, voters have a real chance to defeat this toxic network of bigotry. And it’s a chance we need to take with both hands.

Featured image via Sky Sports Football and BBC iPlayer

Since you're here ...

We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.

The Canary Support