Former England and Liverpool player John Barnes believes racism is society’s problem rather than just football’s.
A series of schemes have been introduce in an attempt to rid football of racism, but Barnes the all miss the point.
“It’s not a question of kicking it [racism] out of the game, it’s a question of kicking it out of society,” Barnes said.
“As long as it exists in society, it will exist in all walks of society, of which football is one. You cannot target racism in football unless you target it in society.
“So we’re going about it the wrong way. Because football is high-profile and media-attentive, everybody focuses on football, however you need to look at the bigger picture and say that because football players and fans are members of society first, then they are football players and football fans second.
“So you have to target their sensibilities and their perspectives in society in everyday life, rather than saying that a 90-minute football match is where you see racism,” he said.
Barnes also said he couldn’t understand the problem with holding the Qatar 2022 World Cup in summer, citing climate control systems in stadiums as a reason to be optimistic.
“When you talk about World Cups and football, you have to take into consideration not only FIFA, but UEFA and the respective football leagues of each country, and these leagues play football in the winter, particularly in Europe. So they would never stop the English, French or Spanish league because of a winter World Cup, so that’s a non-starter,” he said.
“Secondly, for me the weather is not an issue, because in the summer it’s hot everywhere. And because of the guarantee of a [cool] climate in the stadium, it’s not going to be different to anywhere else. Most importantly, football belongs to the world.”