An Australian academic has called for soccer clubs to take a stand against racism after a young Caucasian fan painted his face black to pose with his favourite player.
The child blacked his face and cut his hair into a blonde mohawk before a game involving Australian stars Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka's old English club, Leeds United, in a clash against Bolton Wanderers.
Others, including some Leeds players, have defended the youngster.
Monash University media expert Andy Ruddock says there's nothing to be gained by demonising or criticising the child, his family or the players.
But he says it demonstrates that racism is still a "live issue" for soccer.
"There's nothing to be gained by demonising a child who clearly meant to pay tribute to his favourite player," Dr Ruddock told AAP on Thursday.
"What this story shows is how important it is that professional clubs and players take racism seriously and exercise some leadership in that regard.
"It is worth considering why the story has become so large in the context of broader anxieties about the resurgence of racism in football.
"The story isn't really about this little boy or Leeds but rather about the social responsibilities of football clubs."