Bale calls for tough action to stamp out racist abuse at football matches
Gareth Bale says tougher action is needed to clamp down on racist abuse from football fans at games and says the Welsh squad are prepared to walk off if players suffer abuse during a game.
Bale’s comments come after football’s world governing body Fifa confirmed that disciplinary proceedings had been opened “following analysis of the match reports” from England’s game in Hungary on Thursday evening.
England were jeered by the home fans for taking the knee before kick-off and during the game Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were racially abused. The visitors were also pelted with objects thrown from the stands in the second half of their 4-0 win.
The Wales skipper said action must be taken to stop racism at matches and called for the football authorities to ban teams whose supporters are guilty of abuse.
“The easiest thing is – whether you ban the fans from the stadium or if they keep repeatedly doing it, which seems to be what is happening, then you ban the country from the competition, the Real Madrid star said.
“I think it kicks it out straight away. If that country keeps making these horrible gestures, then maybe the best thing to do is to get rid of them, give them a suspension and hopefully they will learn their lesson that way.”
Bales also said he would support players in walking off the pitch if they were racially abused during a game and indicated the Welsh squad agreed they would walk off as a team if the situation arose.
“Football qualifiers are important, but these matters come way above football,” he said.
“If it happened to any of us and we decided to leave the pitch because we feel we weren’t getting the protection or being treated the right way – if the only way to get a response was to walk off – then, yes, I’d be fully for it.
“It’s the right thing to do and it’s more important than football.
“We haven’t had too many issues, but we’d have that discussion if it happened, and we’d all agree on it as we’re a team that sticks together.
“If anyone is being targeted, we’ll do the right thing.”