Jadon Sancho says players are going to start falling out of love with football unless the racist abuse stops.
Romelu Lukaku became the latest victim of sickening abuse on Sunday evening, the former Manchester United striker subjected to monkey chants before taking a penalty for Inter Milan at Cagliari.
This was not the first such incident in the Sardinian city, nor was it the first to have surfaced in the footballing world in recent weeks. Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma have all received appalling abuse on social media platforms since the start of the season, along with several others across the pyramid.
A number of England’s black players were abused during March’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro – Borussia Dortmund forward Sancho was an unused substitute that night and is naturally dismayed by the current state of the world.
“I personally think that it just has to stop,” the 19-year-old said. “No player wants to play football and have abuse like that.
“It puts the confidence down in players and the love of the sport will go very soon if it doesn’t stop. I think everyone should be happy and do what they are doing without receiving racist abuse.”
While racist abuse within grounds can lead to strong sanctions, social media has yet to find a way of effectively dealing with the issue. Kick It Out and the Professional Footballers’ Association had separate meetings with Twitter last week, while Manchester United and Chelsea have told the PA news agency that they intend to meet the social media platform to discuss racist abuse.
Our statement after another player faced disgusting racist and discriminatory abuse on social media this weekend, simply for doing their job.— Kick It Out (@kickitout) September 2, 2019
“I don’t think it’s social media,” Sancho said. “Some fans are just really passionate and obviously they just say what they want to say.
“I just feel they need to slow it down at bit – we’re still only human.
“Because we play football people might think we are just famous and ignorant to that, but we just love the sport and just want to play football. It is hard to see things like this because it feels like, ‘Why should we play football?’
“I felt that Romelu Lukaku handled it very well by not reacting and just carrying on playing.”
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