I don't have an emotional investment in today's UEFA Cup final between Zenit St. Petersburg and Rangers (2 p.m. ET Fox Soccer Channel), but if you're on the fence like me, you may want to check out Martin Samuel's column today in the Times of London on Zenit manager Dick Advocaat.
By the time you're done, you'll be saying "Go Rangers."
Seems the Russian club has a long-standing policy (83 years) of not hiring black players. Advocaat, former Holland coach, defending his refusal to buck that policy. He told a Russian journalist:
“I don’t want to sign a player who won’t be accepted by the fans. The fans are the most important thing that Zenit have and that is why I have to ask them outright how they will react if we sign a dark-skinned player. The only players who can make Zenit stronger are dark skinned. Look at the Brazilians who play for CSKA Moscow. For us, it would be impossible. I would be happy to sign anyone, but the fans don’t like black players. I do not understand how they could pay so much attention to skin colour. For me, there is no difference; but they care.”
Great, Dick, thanks for clarifying.
I'll let this hypocrisy speak for itself. I'm sure Advocaat has some money socked away somewhere, and has the coaching pedigree to get another job in Europe. Does he need to work for Zenit that badly? Couldn't he have resigned on principle when he first got wind of this foul breeze? Why perpetuate it? Why perpetuate the climate of racism doing enough damage to this game already?
It's too bad this is allowed to go on. Where's UEFA been with this garbage? Why hasn't the game's governing body stepped in and banned this club until it gets its act together on race? This is shameful.
I no longer admire Zenit's remarkable run in the UEFA Cup, laying waste to among others, Bayern Munich, in its wake. I no longer want to see Cinderella be the belle of the ball. I no longer want to hear anything about this club, or this manager.