Eto’o: Punishment for racism must be severe

A group of Chelsea supporters were alleged to have racially abused a man in Paris in February, prompting the former Blues striker to call for harsher punishments

Samuel Eto’o has called for stricter punishments to combat racism in football in light of the recent public abuse from Chelsea fans towards a man in Paris.

The group of fans were seen preventing a 33-year-old Parisian access to a Paris Metro train in February before pushing him back onto the platform while the group sang racially charged songs.

Eto’o, who played for the Blues during the 2013-14 season, says that the incident shocked him after enjoying a positive relationship with the club’s fans but insists that “justice must be severe” to prevent similar episodes.

“I was shocked,” he told Le Parisien. “I did not understand. During the season I spent in Chelsea, I never had any problems with the fans. They have always respected and supported me.

“We can not condemn all fans because of the stupidity of five or 10 individuals. We must not generalise and it is especially necessary to punish those who did this. Justice must be severe to ensure that this does not happen again.

He continued: “I do not understand all this hate. The feeling that people should advocate is love, not hate. We are all human beings. We have differences but we are the same.

“If you learn to hate, you can learn to love. I hope to see the day when racism has disappeared. We need time and a lot of work for it.

Eto’o experienced racism while playing in Spain for Barcelona, notably threatening to walk off the pitch after Real Zaragoza supporters directed monkey noises at him when in possession of the ball.

“When it happens to you it is important not to give up and stop fighting against racism,” he said. “This kind of thing should never happen.

“We must educate the children, teach them to love. The school and parents have a key role but the media also have a very important role to play. Just make the right messages.