Racism not a football problem: Luis Figo
NEW YORK (AFP) - Racism is not a football problem, but a wider social ill, Portuguese star soccer player Luis Figo told AFP on Wednesday, in the wake of a succession of racial abuse scandals across European soccer.
Figo, in New York to promote Inter Milan's charity work with youngsters in trouble areas around the world, said the club's initiative showed how "football has a responsibility." The project, called Inter Campus, teaches football to 10,000 children in 25 countries.
But despite a stream of accusations of racism involving European fans, players and even a referee recently, Figo said the sport is not at fault. "It's not a problem of football," said Figo, a retired midfielder for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter, as well as former linchpin of his Portuguese national side.
"It's like everything. In a stadium of so much people, you always find some part (that) are not so intelligent. I think it's a problem of our society, it's not a problem of only football," he said at the offices of the Italian ambassador to the United Nations, who is also a backer of the Inter Campus initiative.