“I was derided as an indio during the game”15 February 2010

Interview with Alberto Rodriguez

In Latin-American football racism is expressed by one word: indio. Alberto Rodriguez, one of the best defenders ever to come out of Mexico, talks about his experience of racism during his career.

Alberto Rodriguez is currently contracted to CD Cruz Azul, who are based in the capital, Mexico City, and was a regular member of the Mexican national team until 2006, featuring in the squad for the 2002 World Cup.

Question: What has been your experience of racism in football?

Racism is very prevalent in Latin-American football.
One of the experiences that made the deepest impression on me was during the Copa Libertadores when the crowd jeered me throughout the entire game by chanting “Indio” at me.

Why are there racist attacks in football?

In Mexico and throughout Latin America racism is at its most prominent when one of the teams is losing. We Latin Americans aren't used to losing. Not being able to lose makes us crazy and gets us abusing the opposing team and their supporters, and that makes us racists.

What do you think of anti-racism campaigns such as those of the FARE network?

I hope that FARE, or “fair play” as we say in Mexico, carries on its activities worldwide. I believe these activities make supporters more aware and often encourage players to reflect as well.

What do goals mean?

Goals are the spirit of football, the greatest; they're the ecstasy of a game, even more so when you win. But most of all they're the highlight for the supporters.

How can racism be eradicated from the Latin-American game?

To put an end to this racism, which we often display when we lose and feel inferior, we have to learn how to lose and how to respect the others' victory.

Interview: Oscar Sanchez