I’ve recently been incensed at some comments I have heard in the clubhouse, on the touchline and in writing from opposing teams. Cries of “Get the black bastards” and “run nigger, run” have been heard, as have sideways snipes at the composition of the Farnborough team. We started a match with eight Fijian players in our local side, which other teams take some offence at. Maybe it’s because they are very good, fit and experienced players, and the opposition is jealous, or maybe it’s that their colour provides an easy label to attack them on. One local team writes in their match report “Boro had three chances and took them all, all scored by Fijians of whom there were no fewer than eight in the starting line-up. With a South African captain to boot, Farnborough are certainly the most cosmopolitan club in Hampshire One.”
The BIG point for me is this : These guys are serving soldiers in the British Army. Many of them are due to leave for Afghanistan in the next few weeks to fight on our behalf. So, Farnborough RFC gives them the opportunity to play rugby while they have some free time, and contribute to the success of the local team. Farnborough give these guys the opportunity to play, other local teams could, but do not, and have taken part in these racist chants. Whatever you may think about allowing foreigners to settle in our country, don’t label people who are making a contribution. If you don’t agree with our foreign campaigns, that’s an issue to take up with the government, not the individual soldiers.
I am proud to call the Fijians part of the Farnborough team, and wish them well in their endeavours as they serve for our British Army.