Gary Neville pulled no punches after the latest incident of racist abuse towards a player in today’s game between Spurs and Chelsea, the Sky Sports pundit accusing the leaders of the UK’s leading political parties of fuelling racism.
Sadly, Chelsea’s impressive 2-0 win over London rivals Spurs was marred by alleged racist abuse from home fans towards Blues defender Antonio Rudiger.
Today’s incident continues a worrying and growing trend at English Football stadia, with racist incidents continuing to grow.
Neville believes the current political climate in the UK has contributed to this sorry state of affairs, and gave an impassioned speech on the matter during the post-match coverage.
“I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, we have just had an election in this country where both main parties and the leaders of both main parties are accused constantly over the last month of fuelling racism and accepting racism within their parties,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“If it is accepted at the highest office in the country, we are not talking about it at a micro level we are talking about it at an absolutely enormous level, the highest office in the country.
I think Dave Jones is excellent at his job and I’m sure he was being told to say that at the end. But he undermined Gary Neville’s reasoned and right-thinking argument. This kind of faux journalistic balance is part of the reason why we are where we are pic.twitter.com/EDTdEX6UkB
— Ryan Baldi (@RyanBaldiFW) December 22, 2019
“We have seen an issue today that we might say is down to one particular person but it is a far bigger issue than that and there has to be something that happens quickly.
“We maybe have to empower the players to walk off the pitch and stop the entertainment while it’s happening because that’s the only way I can see it changing.”
Neville was joined in studio by former England teammate Ashley Cole who was racially abused on international duty in Turkey in 2003. Neville revealed that he was ashamed for not taking action back then and called on players to stage walk-off protests if these incidents continue to occur.
“I didn’t walk off the pitch when Ashley was abused 15 years ago and people might say it’s OK to sit in my ivory tower of a commentary box and tell players to walk off the pitch but ultimately I am ashamed of myself for not doing it 15 years ago and I would be absolutely proud of players now if they did something about it and took it into their own hands.
“The PFA have to act because ultimately the PFA are there to protect football players in this country and football players in this country are being abused while doing their jobs. That is unacceptable.
“The PFA might have to take it into their own hands if the Premier League and the FA don’t act and stop pointing the finger at the Bulgarian FA and the Spanish FA because we have to deal with our own ship.”