Thursday, 17 October, 2019

England stars agree to walk off in the event of racism

Fikayo Tomori Chelsea training 2019-20 We'll all leave pitch if racially abused, says England striker
Cary Erickson | 11 October, 2019, 04:41

"Harry Kane even said that if we're not happy, if a player is not happy, we all come off the pitch together".

"I can totally understand why the Bulgarian president feels as he does because we have purely been responding honestly to questions we've been asked", Southgate said.

Southgate told media in September he would speak to the players about how they wished to handle any future incidents of abuse, while UEFA have their own three-step protocol to help deal with such incidents.

England's players received similar abuse in their qualifier against Montenegro in Podgorica earlier this year, where they stayed on the pitch and won 5-1.

"I first raised awareness about the issue at hand following England manager Gareth Southgate's comments on potential racial abuse in England's visit to Sofia on October 14; comments that the Bulgarian Football Union, the Bulgarian general public and I personally find offensive due to unjust branding of the local spectators as people inclined to discriminatory behaviour".

"If it happens and let's say there's a warning or whatever in the stadium, then it happens again, we have to make a decision as a team and with the staff".

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If it persists the referee will take the teams off the field for a reasonable period of time.

Speaking ahead of Friday's fixture with the Czechs, Southgate said: "There is a UEFA process and we have to have faith in that process. Callum Wilson is going to want to push - we can try to motivate the players but that competition for places is as much as a driver than anything else".

"He's the captain, he plays successfully for his membership week in, week out, so he's doing one thing unprejudiced", mentioned Wilson.

"It's exciting but we have to do it in big games, big tournaments", Sterling said.

"I, as president of the Bulgarian Football Union, can not allow for such derogatory claims to continue being spread in the mass media and I strongly suggest that the UEFA administration take measures against the build-up of unnecessary tension in the weeks devoted to equality and to the celebration of football". If we decide that we don't want to play this game because of what's going on, we'll come off as a team.

England top the group with 12 points and will qualify for next year's finals if they beat the second-placed Czechs.