Former England footballer Shaun Wright-Phillips may have voted for operation walk off the pitch as solution to racism in football after he said it would be a ‘massive step’ if the national football team were to walk off the pitch in the event of racist abuse of black players.
The retired Manchester City star told Good Morning Britain that he had been the target of monkey chants during his own career, and said teams whose fans shout racist abuse should forfeit the game.
He also called for lifetime bans for racist fans, saying that ‘taking away something they love’ would expunge racist abuse from the game forever.
Black England players were racially abused by locals during their victory over Montenegro earlier this year, and there are growing fears that members of Gareth Southgate’s side will be targeted when they travel to Sofia in October.
UEFA fined the Bulgarian FA after alleged racist chanting towards black players during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia in September 2011.
It is understood the option of walking off the field should an England player be racially abused is to be considered at a meeting of the team, though the squad is understood to be against such a stance.
Wright-Phillips said: ‘I think it’d be a massive step. They would show a stand and say “look we’re not taking it any more”. ‘And my team mates that are not of ethnic colour or origin are backing me as well, so they’re swinging the same way as everyone else who watches it, and the people up above it are trying to help it.’
He went on: ‘If its proven that there’s racial abuse, the team’s fans where there’s abuse should quit the game as a loss and the result should go to the winner basically. Some many players have had to stomach racist abuse. Only rently Chelsea player Tammy Abraham got his own share of the abuse after he missed a penalty in the Super Cup, former Manchester United Romelu Lukaku was forced to lash out at racist fans who directed monkey chant at him at his new club Inter Milan recently.