Gary Lineker has revealed he suffered racist abuse from other players during his football career due to his ‘darkish skin’.
The Match of the Day presenter, 61, said he had been a ‘tiny, geeky kid’ who was first subject to the unacceptable taunts at school.
But in a startling remark, he disclosed he experienced racial abuse later in life as well as a professional footballer.
And in a hint that the racism had come from known figures in the sport, he insisted he would not ‘name any names’.
He told the High Performance Podcast: “Without being good at sport, life would have been very different for me because I was, I think I would have been bullied at school, I was kind of marginally that way anyway because I was this tiny geeky kid, with darkish skin and I had pretty much racist abuse although I’m not, I’m as English as they come. All the time, all the time.
‘Even in professional football I had that a couple of times, I wouldn’t ever name any names.
‘So I got that kind of nonsense, which was a bit weird.
‘Whether that was part of something that made me, I don’t know, but other people might not be able to handle that.”
Lineker has always spoken out against racism and in April last year joined leading sports stars, clubs and organisations for a four-day social media blackout to tackle abuse and discrimination.
The unified boycott of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram continued over a weekend.