Tue | Jul 7, 2020

Hit clubs where it hurts - ... Lowe wants harsher penalties for racial abuse

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:25 AMDaniel Wheeler/Gleaner Writer

NATIONAL DEFENDER Damion Lowe believes that football’s governing bodies need to enforce harsher punishment on clubs for incidents of racism by fans.

Lowe was speaking recently during a Gleaner Instagram live interview, where he discussed a wide range of issues including the Reggae Boyz’s chances to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and his experience during his three years at Norwegian Club, IK Start.

He believes that the punishments for racial abuse of players must be served to deter future behaviour and he suggests that the penalties should have financial and performance implications from hefty fines, point deductions and even expulsion out of major tournaments.

“Clubs need to get fined. Clubs don’t like to pay fines and clubs don’t like to get points taken away. Clubs don’t like to get kicked out of tournaments and I feel that once FIFA starts coming into play with a lot of that [it will help],” Lowe said.

There have been many cases of black players being racially abused and punishments handed out, but this has garnered criticism from the players for not being harsh enough.

England defender Danny Rose said that the fine and one match stadium closure punishment handed to Montenegro for racially abusing him, Raheem Sterling and Callum Hudson-Odoi during a Euro 2020 qualifier on March 25, 2019 did little to really effect change.

Lowe believes that playing games behind closed doors would not be an effective enough punishment for such behaviour.

“I feel like sometimes yeah no fans in the stadiums they can live with that. One or two games without fans or no away fans, whatever,” he said. “But if you start taking away 15, 20 points when you are in third place or fourth place, then people are going to start to get worried; or kicking them out the Champions League or Europa League or suspending them or relegating them automatically. Then the real ‘ball game’ will start.”

Lowe left IK Start after three seasons with the club by mutual consent and is currently plotting his next footballing destination. While he says that he has not personally faced incidents of racism during his time in Norway, he knows it exists. He recalled an interaction with a fan who explained reasons for staying away from the team’s home ground.

“I’ve had one fan who saw me in the town, in the city and said you know why I don’t really come to the games, because there is a lot of racism in the stands,” he said. “When black guys do good they praise everything, but once you guys do bad or the team is doing bad, they curse the international guys and they talk a lot of stuff in the stands.”

“For me personally upfront confrontation, I never experienced racism like that, but it’s there. It’s around,” added Lowe.

Racial inequality has been highlighted once again after a black man in the United States died after being knelt on by a police officer. Several Bundesliga players have protested the situation during games, while many in the sporting world have also spoken out against the situation.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com