Former Manchester City star Yaya Toure believes tackling racism is harder than ever because “fans are more stupid”.
The Ivorian has been a long-spoken critic of football’s response to racism, especially in the last few years when incidents across Europe have garnered more media attention than ever before
This season has seen a racist chanting, remarks or gestures made against players in several countries, including Italy, England and Bulgaria.
Romelu Lukaku was the subject of monkey noises while playing for Inter while the England men’s national team twice stopped playing against Bulgaria due to racist chanting from the crowd.
In the Premier League, at the recent derby between Manchester City and United a man was arrested for allegedly making a racist gesture.
Speaking in Doha at the Club World Cup, Toure cut an exasperated figure when asked for his thoughts on the latest events.
“I’ve had a chat with FIFA because this is something every important that we have to look at carefully,” the 36-year-old midfielder said.
“I know it’s going to be hard work and difficult because the way to win this case is going to be very long.
“The fans, the people, are now becoming more stupid than before.
“This thing is shocking because we are in 2019 now. In 2020 and 2025, we have the kids coming through – what are we going to do? We can’t continue like this.”
This week, Serie A released three paintings of monkeys as part of their anti-racism drive , a move that was strongly criticised.
And though currently playing for Chinese outfit Qingdao Huanghai, Toure revealed that he is considering retiring to focus his efforts on tackling racism in football.
“When I saw those things, I want to play for one more year maximum, but I have to retire to join FIFA to work on that because these things hurt a lot,” he said.
“To have the feeling and to see those things is just unbelievable. I don’t know how people can trust.
“I know the organisations Fifa and Uefa are doing a lot just to carry on things and making things happen.
“We can talk about education because the fans are in a different way. You can sanctions the clubs and make the field empty.”
Toure played three seasons for Barcelona before joining City in 2010 where he went onto enjoy eight fruitful seasons in north-west England.
During his time at the Etihad Stadium, Toure won the Premier League on three occasions, while with his home nation he won the Africa Cup of Nations in 2015.