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Tim Eggington

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ENGLAND PLAYERS PREPARED TO TAKE STAND AGAINST RACISM

Written by on October 9, 2019

ENGLAND PLAYERS PREPARED TO TAKE STAND AGAINST RACISM

Trent Alexander-Arnold feels that any “extreme” racial abuse could lead to England players taking different action from the UEFA protocols.

But his Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez warned walking off the pitch could play into the hands of the culprits.

The Three Lions travel to the Czech Republic and Bulgaria for back-to-back Euro 2020 qualifiers this weekend.

The second game, in Sofia, will be particularly scrutinised as the hosts will be playing with the Vasil Levski National Stadium partially closed as a sanction following racism in the home games against both Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

England’s players received similar abuse in their qualifier against Montenegro in Podgorica, where they stayed on the pitch and ran out 5-1 winners.

UEFA’s three-step protocol for racial abuse is in place to attempt to deal with any such incidents.

The first step is for the referee to made aware of any racism and halt the game for an announcement to be made, secondly – if the abuse continues – the referee will suspend the game for a period of time.

The third and final step will see the official abandon the game, with Tammy Abraham suggesting that, if England’s players believe someone is not comfortable, captain Harry Kane will lead them off the field of play before the three steps are played out if they are not working.

Alexander-Arnold believes the protocols will be followed but that, in any potentially threatening situation, a different course of action may be appropriate.

“We had the meeting with the team and the staff,” he said.

“We talked, everyone was happy and content with the way it went. We all understand what would happen if that situation occurred.

“UEFA have their way of doing it, the way we need to follow. That’s what we’re going to do.

“As a team, we’re all agreed we need to follow the protocol in place. Obviously as a team, as UEFA will make their decisions, we’ll also make our decisions and we’ll have a discussion about that if that time ever comes. Hopefully it doesn’t.

“We need to be professional athletes. We have an obligation to follow the protocols, that’s what we need to do. If it does get to the extreme, maybe different action might be taken.

“Hopefully that doesn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen in modern football. We’re going there hoping nothing will happen and I’m sure nothing will.”

Published: 09/10/2019 by Radio NewsHub