“Racism is to be found among players, too, not just the fans,” says Seedorf29 November 2004

Europe's stadia are experiencing a flood of racism, what's your opinion on this, Clarence Seedorf?
“In my view these incidents are a reflection of society in general, where discrimination against people with black or yellow skin, people who wear glasses, anyone who is different, predominates.”

You don't think it is the consequence of racist conviction?
“No, I don't. Some of the fans who abuse players with a different coloured skin may well have black friends. It's a problem of education and culture.”

So have you never been bothered or affected by certain incidents?
“Of course I have, but the abuse didn't just come from the stands, it came from other players as well, believe you me.”

What can be done about it?
“We should start by removing the fencing from our grounds. At the Marassi Stadium in Genoa the away fans sit in something resembling a cage. I think everyone would act more responsibly if there was no fencing.”

Is that enough?
“No, clubs could put on entertainment on the pitch at half time. This would divert people's attention and give them less time to think up such nonsense.”

What contribution can you and other players make??
“It's up to us to play good, exciting football. That isn't easy, though. Playing matches every three days is simply inhuman.”

Can you concentrate on the game when sections of the fans are abusing you?
“Booing has never bothered me. I don't even hear it, unless it's excessive. You score two goals for them and that's that. Genuine racism is not always that which is openly expressed. It's the racism you encounter in day-to-day life.”

Can you give us an example?
“I was 19 and had just joined Sampdoria. I was driving home with my mother in a second-hand BMW. At the border a young woman stopped me for the usual passport check. I was just about to drive off when an official appeared and checked every square inch of my car. As he did so he insulted me because he didn't think I could understand him. I could have ended up in prison that day. If my mother hadn't restrained me, I don't know what would have happened.”

Sven-Göran Eriksson has said he will take his team off the next time it happens.
“I agree, but it would be a mistake to believe that FIFA can make this standard behaviour. We ourselves have to change. It requires a certain culture and education, and by this I mean very specific ways of behaving.”

Which ones?
“When I was at Inter my friends and relatives were abused in the VIP seats. This is a part of the ground where people from good homes and with money sit. But they have a lack of education and understanding of other cultures, that's the problem.”

(Source: Corriere della Sera – 28 November 2004)