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But there will be more incidents, more chanting, more games where black players hear monkey sounds, more attacks like the one last week on Tottenham fans by masked thugs in Rome who wielded knives, metal bars and stones and reportedly shouted “Jew.”

Because that is football.

Not all of football.

Just an ugly fringe.

But always enough to prevent it from the being the beautiful game it claims to be.


John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at) or follow him at