Racism: Stop the Game and Pull the lads off- Johnson Charges Uefa
By Samuel Victor Akpan
Former Chelsea, Liverpool and Portsmouth defender Glenn Johnson has called on football governing bodies to take a tougher stand on racism in football by “stopping the game and pulling the players off the field.”
The ex-England International in an interview with TalkSports also said the pressure needs to be taken off the players as they do not have to make that decision on racism.
“I just think the lads just want to play the game”, Johnson said. “I don’t think there should be any more pressure on them whether they want to walk off the pitch or stay on the pitch.”
“I just think the pressure should be taken away from them, if anyone hears it then somebody above can make the call and stop the game and pull the lads off. Just take the heat off them a little bit.”
Johnson who was capped 54 times by The Three Lions stated that he personally wouldn’t walk off if racially abused but would join a team-mate in leaving the field if they suffered racism.
“To be honest I don’t think that players should have to make that decision. I personally wouldn’t want to walk off but obviously, if my teammate did then obviously I’d support them and we’d all walk off together.”
”I think it should be someone above, maybe someone from Uefa. If anyone can hear that sort of abuse then they should be the ones to stop the game and usher the lads off the pitch so that the pressure is not on the players to make the decision. At the end of the day, they just want to play football.”
With players like Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham, Raheem Sterling and RomeluLukaku all victims of racial abuse recently, Johnson reckons the players don’t really don’t get the benefit of doubt when they take the decision to abandon a game following racial abuse.
“If they do walk off, then there’s going to be half the people who are going to criticize them and half the people who are going to support what they’ve done. Either way, they are not going to really win.”
“If the lads can hear it, they can hear it. It’s as simple as that. Like I said take the pressure and the limelight off the players and stop the game, then the lads can’t get criticized afterwards. At the end of the day, they are just trying to do their job and concentrate on the game”, added Johnson.