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Zidane holds the key to defeating racism in football: Ruud Gullit



Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit has outlined exactly why football is failing to properly address racism within the game in an exclusive interview with Off Script on Dubai Eye 103.8.


The 57-year-old former Ballon D’Or winner says it is only when the game’s influential figures speak out, that the authorities sit up and take notice, adding that complaints made by black players are largely ignored.

During a candid discussion on the increasing incidents of racist abuse both online and at stadiums, Gullit also defended Italian fans, who made headlines recently for directing monkey chants at Romelu Lukaku during Inter Milan’s match at Cagliari on September 1. 

Gullit, who played for AC Milan between 1987 and 1994, echoed the claims made by Inter Milan’s fans over the last 24 hours, that the chants amount to gamesmanship and are in fact a mark of respect.

And he is quick to point out that while racism is by no means confined to football, the mob mentality that exists within the game has exacerbated it. 

“This is not only an issue in football. This a plague in society,” the two-time European Cup winner told Off Script. “When things aren’t going well people always try and find a scapegoat. And they always point the finger at someone who is in the minority.

“It’s very ignorant to do so, but when people gather around in groups, all of a sudden this [racism] comes out. When you talk to them individually, they probably don’t have an issue.”

Gullit went on to highlight what he believes is the crux of why significant progress to combat racism is not being made.

Gullit on tackling racism

“It’s like cancer. The problem with this is that when a black person talks about it, everyone shrugs their shoulders ‘oh, here’s another one who feels attacked or feels this and that’.

“If someone important, a white person talks about it and says ‘this has to stop’ then more people will talk about it and take action.

“The same thing happened with #MeToo, when women all the time talked about themselves, people after a while say hey ‘always thinking ah, you’re in the minority’.

“But therefore someone opposite says something about it, for example, Zinedine Zidane, all of a sudden people will listen and say ‘this is not good’.

“That’s one thing. But of course, the authorities FIFA and UEFA need to take a stand, and to say what to do when this happens. Do we ignore it? What is the best thing to do?”

Meanwhile, recalling his time spent playing in Italy, Gullit was quick to defend Italian fans.

Ruud Gullit on racism in Italian football

“People had issues because we were good. Of course, they are going to direct abuse at you, but I didn’t see it as personal, I saw it as them wanting to put me off my game.

“The funny thing was that when we played, after the game, they always applauded us.

“For me, to see these things, it’s a little bit odd for Italy. I know the country has issues among themselves between north and south, but in my time, they were abusing you, but just to put you off, and afterwards, they’d applaud you.

“It surprises me because I have a very good memory of Italy. I love Italy. The style and the way Italian people are.”

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Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of Now managing editor of, part of MEMc (



Rublev defaulted as Bublik reaches Dubai final – ARN News Centre



Friday, 1 March 2024 20:30

By Reuters


Second seed Andrey Rublev was defaulted from the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semi-finals on Friday after yelling at a line judge in the final set of his clash with Alexander Bublik.

In a chaotic match where both semi-finalists fumed at the officials, Rublev was defaulted by the chair umpire for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Bublik, who clawed his way back from a set down to lead 6-7(4) 7-6(5) 6-5, was awarded the win.

The result ensured there would be no repeat of last year’s final where Rublev lost to Daniil Medvedev.

The top seeded Medvedev is playing against fifth-seeded Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the other last-four clash.


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Ronaldo’s Al Nassr sets up ACL clash with Al Ain – ARN News Centre




Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr will lock horns with UAE side Al Ain in the quarter-finals of the Asian Champions League (ACL).

The Riyadh-based side beat fellow Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Fayha 2-0 on Wednesday to complete a 3-0 aggregate victory.

Portugal winger Otavio scored in the 17th minute to build on last week’s 1-0 win before Ronaldo added a late second.

Elsewhere, Al Ain saw off Uzbekistan’s Nasaf 2-1, thanks to Soufiane Rahimi’s injury-time winner.

Following a scoreless first leg, Al Ain came back from going a goal behind to Akmal Mozgovoy’s close-range strike in the 51st minute to level through Kodjo Laba’s acrobatic effort four minutes later.

The game looked to be heading for extra time when Rahimi capitalised on a poor attempt to punch clear by Nasaf goalkeeper Abduvohid Nematov to slot home the winner for the hosts two minutes into added time.

South Korea’s Ulsan Hyundai also confirmed their progress to the next round with a 2-1 victory over Japanese second division side Ventforet Kofu to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.

Meanwhiel, Anderson Lopes’ 122nd-minute penalty earned Yokohama F Marinos a last-gasp 1-0 win over Bangkok United to seal a 3-2 victory that sets up a quarter-final meeting with China’s Shandong Taishan.

On Thursday, Saudi champions Al Ittihad will meet Navbahor from Uzbekistan in Jeddah following a scoreless draw in their first clash and Al Hilal take a 3-1 lead into their second leg against Iran’s Sepahan in Riyadh.

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Inaugural edition of Lanka T10 to kick off in December 2024



The inaugural edition of the Lanka T10 League will be held from December 12 to December 22, 2024.

The tournament, which was initially planned to be held in June 2023, was shifted to December, as SLC deemed the ‘December window’ as the most appropriate to conduct the league, as the timing will complement Sri Lanka’s Domestic and International Cricketing Calendar.

Lanka T10 League, Sri Lanka’s newest addition to its annual cricket calendar will feature some of the finest international stars along with Sri Lanka’s top international stars.

The action-packed competition will also provide opportunities for the brightest young talents in the country to mix, mingle, and play along with international stars.

” I have full confidence that this tournament will be a resounding success, contributing to Sri Lanka Cricket’s ability to stay current with the evolving trends in the game.,” said Shammi Silva, President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

Adding more thoughts on the Lanka T10 December tournament, Mr Shammi Silva added, “We foresee that this event will not solely captivate cricket enthusiasts, but also serve as a catalyst for popularizing the tournament broadly.”

Mr Anil Mohan, Founder and CEO, IPG Group shared, “This is a great stepping stone for us as we get to organise another exciting chapter in Sri Lankan Cricket. Our league unites the top international stars and local talent on an exciting platform for cricket enthusiasts worldwide. Together, we aim to make history and elevate the game with every thrilling match.”

The tournament will feature six men’s teams covering regional cricket picenters, with each team consisting of a squad of 16 players, along with six foreign players.

“We’re thrilled to bring T10 cricket to Sri Lanka, and we’re grateful to SLC for their support. This league holds added significance as it is formally endorsed by esteemed members like SLC, highlighting the credibility and excitement surrounding this new era in Sri Lankan cricket.” Shaji ul Mulk, Chairman of TTen Global Sports, representing the Event Rights Partner.

The matches will be played in some of Sri Lanka’s top international cricket venues and under lights.

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