With a spate of racist incidents occurring across the continent over the last year, the Three Lions have prepared for the worst-case scenario
Tammy Abraham has revealed England captain Harry Kane has said the Three Lions are willing to walk off the pitch if any players suffer racist abuse in their next Euro 2020 qualifiers.
Several of Gareth Southgate’s players, including Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose, were subject to monkey chants during March’s trip to Montenegro.
Ahead of the upcoming games away to Czech Republic and Bulgaria in the next week, England players have held meetings to discuss how they will react if there is any racist chants directed at them from fans.
The second fixture in Sofia is a particular concern with the stadium already at a reduced capacity due to Bulgaria fans previously engaging in racist chanting in earlier qualifiers against Czech Republic and Kosovo.
Explaining England’s stance should they receive any form of racism, Abraham revealed Kane has said he is willing to lead his team-mates off the pitch, even if it results in punishment from UEFA.
“Harry Kane said that if it happens [racist abuse] and we’re not happy with it, we speak to the player and if he’s not happy, we all come off the pitch together,” said Abraham, as per the Mirror.
“It’s a team thing. Don’t isolate one person, we’re a whole team. If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us.
“Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps, if we decide that we want to stop the game and we want to stop the game – no matter what the score is – if we’re not happy with it, as a team we’ll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.”
The UEFA three step protocol, as mentioned by Abraham, first sees an announcement made to the crowd if there is any racist abuse, then secondly, the players leave the pitch while a second message is deliver to fans, before, finally, a decision is made whether to abandon or restart the match.
England are currently top of their qualifying group after picking up 12 points from their four matches, and two wins in the upcoming double-header of fixtures could be a huge step in the Three Lions’ hopes of qualifying for next summer’s tournament.