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Kick It Out's Troy Townsend: 'Authorities failing players over racism'

Townsend: 'Authorities failing players over racism'
© Reuters
The Tottenham defender has described current punishments for racist incidents as farcical.

Danny Rose’s admission that he “can’t wait” for his football career to be over will be the start of players upping the ante in the fight against racism, according to Kick It Out’s head of development Troy Townsend.

Rose made the startling revelation in the wake of the racist abuse he received alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi while playing for England in Montenegro last month, where they were subjected to monkey chants.

The 28-year-old, who advised his family not to travel to the World Cup in Russia last summer due to racism fears, described the current punishments as “a farce”, suggesting he spends more money on a night out in London than offending countries get fined.

Townsend says that, as long as players feel they are being let down, they will get stronger in taking the matter into their own hands.

“The authorities, with all their resources and power, are failing them time and time again,” Townsend said in a Kick It Out column, released to Press Association Sport.

“So players have little choice but to take matters into their own hands.

“This isn’t the first time Danny Rose has opened up about racial abuse he’s received.

“Danny has said he can’t wait to see the back of football, citing his disillusionment with ‘politics in the game’.

“Mark my words – there will be more and more players speaking out and taking increasingly bolder steps in protest. And the sport’s image will suffer more.

Danny Rose was abused while playing for England in Montenegro
Danny Rose was abused while playing for England in Montenegro (Nick Potts/PA)

“It’s a sorry state of affairs when a man is desperate to turn his back on his livelihood because his industry has failed to protect him – and so many others like him.”

UEFA is investigating the abuse received by Rose and Hudson-Odoi and is set to make a ruling next month.

Given the high-profile nature of the incident and the players involved, the pressure will be on the governing body to hand down a harsh punishment if Montenegro are found guilty.

Despite criticism of lenient penalties in the past, the minimum sanction for racist abuse is a partial stadium closure rather than a fine.

Dinamo Zagreb were ordered to play their next two European games behind closed doors, while Lazio and Shakhtar Donetsk will face partial closures to their stadiums having been found guilt of racist behaviour last week.

The unsavoury scenes in Podgorica last month do at least appear to the be the catalyst for change within the game as managers, including Gareth Southgate and Rose’s club boss Mauricio Pochettino, have spoken about taking their sides off the field if racist incidents occurred again.

And Phil Neville, manager of England women, hopes he would have the courage to do similar if anything occurs at this summer’s World Cup in France.

“I said about a month ago, I hope I would have the courage to bring a team off and make a real stance,” he told Sky Sports News.

“”We cant keep sweeping things under the carpet with a fine or half a stadium (closure). If we have the courage and backing to bring a team off and stop the game I would like to think we would.”


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