Let me start this blog out by saying, I hate racism. It’s the most ignorant, stupid creations that mankind has ever devised. It’s up there with nuclear bombs. Both are powerfully destructive, and detrimental to the progression of humanity.Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I could write a dissertation on the subject. Throughout my life I have witnessed this ugly trait of human nature, and I have been subjected to racism since I was born. With decades of first-hand experience, it’s safe to say I know a lot about this subject.So, where are we going with this latest racism row? Recently it has been reported that fans in at a cricket match booed Moeen Ali because of his religion. I wasn’t there, but is the hostility of the crowd down to racism? Wasim Khan, the Chief Executive of the Cricket Foundation Charity and the first British-born Muslim to play professional cricket in England, believes it’s not. He stated that the booing was due to the complex nature of the relationship between India and Pakistan, rather than any anti-Islamic sentiment. He goes on to state that Mohammed Shami plays for India and he is a Muslim and other Muslims have played for them too. He suspects that the hostility of the crowd was likely about national heritage rather than religion. I don’t excuse the behaviour regardless of the motive, but my question is – is it ever OK to boo or express hostile feelings at a professional match?Let’s delve into the madness. What is racist? It’s a complex and multi-faceted issue that the sporting industry still needs to confront on many levels. The Boards, Leagues, Associations and Faculties are all theoretically opposed to racism. But if you actually look at these organisations – the people in power, the people who make the decisions – it tells another story.You only have to look at the Premier League. With so many Black players in the leagues, it is astounding that there is only one Black manager in the top four leagues. These organisations are not fairly representing the masses of our population. And this lack of equality perpetuates old-fashioned attitudes about race. If we don’t see any faces of minorities in power, coaching, managing, at the press conferences, then there will never be any respect. This is what you call ‘Institutional Racism’ and this is where the real problem lies.But back to the issue of booing (when to boo, who to boo, and by the way… can I boo?) Booing is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to racism within sport. Hostility towards players is merely a response to the institutional racism that is so ingrained into a lot of sporting culture. The issue that needs to be tackled is the diversification of the bodies at the top.But until that happens, tackling booing is a good place to start. So this weekend, instead of booing I will be cheering at everything and let’s see if I am accused of something. Maybe I will be accused of being happy, and, as one of my Professors once told me, ‘don’t ±%§+ with happy.’ It is often stated there are three types of lies – ‘lies, damn lies and statistics’. But how much can we rely on statistics in sport? Are they a vital component in understanding the game? One statistic I stumbled across during the World Cup was concerning the age when footballers reach their peak; I find this statistic very interesting.A recent article by BBC News stated that footballers peak between the ages of 27 and 29. This is backed up by the fact that most successful World Cup teams had an mean age of 27.5. So it was very interesting to note (especially if you are a betting person) that the German team average age starting line-up was 27.7 and the average age of the Argentine starting 11 was 28.4. But then in the semi-finals Argentina beat the Netherlands whose starting 11 had an average age of 27.5. Statistics just can’t be taken as gospel.The headlines pointed out that Roy Hodgson picked a very young team, but the truth of the matter is that England’s average age was 27.4 –England’s starting 11 in the 1966 World Cup was a lot younger at 26.7, so going by this statistic the 2014 squad should have performed better than the 1966 squad… we all know that this was far from the case. What is also worth mentioning is that Brazil’s 1958 World Cup winning team was the youngest at 26.3 but their 1962 winning team was the oldest at 30.7. So what all these statistics prove is that performance can’t be determined solely by age, but it has a great deal to do with talent. My personal point of view is that with the increase in technology and nutrition, Sports Medicine and Sports Science in years to come, the average age of a winning World Cup with increase dramatically. Ultimately, statistics do give us some knowledge about patterns and trends in sport, but they can’t be used to determine any real results, as there are just too many variables that can’t be predicted.Just look at Ryan Giggs’ performances over the last five years. It just goes to show you that all statistics have outliers. So, Neymar is out of the World Cup. It has been reported that he has fractured his vertebrae in his lower spine after being kneed in the back by Juan Zuniga in a challenge that went unpunished. I have had an opportunity to review that challenge many times and at many different angles and I all I can say is: What was Zuniga doing? It is an incredibly poor, nasty challenge that should have been severly punished. There needs to be more vigilance to protect players with ability like Neymar. He is a valuable asset and it shouldn’t be down to foolish incidents like this to take him out of the game. Football is a physical sport and I believe it should remain so, but there is no room in the game for such a challenge.But now this presents an even bigger problem for Zuniga; hours after the incident there were a series of unacceptable racist death threats sent to him. I feel no need to repeat some of these vile slurs, but I assure you that some of the messages that have been posted are utterly horrendous. It is at times like this where football can bring out the worst in people. Just as there is no room in the game for sloppy, dangerous challenges – there needs to be equally zero tolerance of small-minded, discriminatory statements.Although Neymar has been ruled out of the World Cup after fracturing his vertebrae, the examination has shown that he does not require surgery. The Team Doctor, Rodrigo Lasmar, has stated that he would only need immobilisation to recover. This is a blessing. This ugly incident can hopefully be forgotten without any lasting impact on Brazil’s star player.The question we need to ask ourselves is what will Brazil do now? How will they respond to losing their key striker? Tragedy often spawns victory, and this could in fact spur them on to win the World Cup – the players now have the chance to come together and fight back in unity. But they will be shaken. Their poster-boy is down and out; their foundation is unstable. But all this uncertainty just breeds more excitement. There is no doubt in my mind that there will more twists and turns and exciting moments in the next week with the World Cup.