England to walk off on racial abuse in Euro 2020 qualifiers

LONDON: England striker Tammy Abraham has made it clear that the team are prepared to walk off the field if they are subjected to racist abuse in Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

England will face the Czech Republic on Friday and Bulgaria on Monday in a partially-closed stadium. European football governing body UEFA had ordered the partial closure of Bulgaria’s national stadium following racist behaviour by their fans in games against the Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

“If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us,” BBC Sport quoted Abraham as saying. “Harry Kane even said that if we’re not happy if a player is not happy, we all come off the pitch together,” he added. Last month, England manager Gareth Southgate has said that racism is a concern and needs planning.

According to UEFA’s three-step protocol for racism, the referee can abandon a match if warnings to the crowd do not stop the fans racially abusing the players. “We did speak about that (the protocol),” Abraham said. “Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps if we decide that we want to stop the game — no matter what the score is — if we’re not happy with it, as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.

“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,” he added. IANS