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Minister questioned on racism in football

15 October 2019

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Dr Rosena Allin-Khan questions Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nigel Adams, on racism in football.

On Monday 14 October, England players were racially abused during a European qualifier, which took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. The match was stopped twice.

The Minister, Nigel Adams, told MPs:

"I was appalled by the disgusting, racist abuse encountered by the England football team and its support staff in Bulgaria last night. Whether you're a player, a manager, a supporter, a member of staff, no participant in sport should have to tolerate discrimination of any kind."

"Can I pay tribute to the leadership shown by Gareth Southgate and his coaching team as well as all the players for how they conducted themselves in appalling circumstances, during and after the match."

"I've also spoken, this morning, to the Chief Executive of the Footballers' Association to express my support to Gareth Southgate, his team and all the support staff of the FA and the way they conducted themselves."

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Shadow Minister of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport:

"Last night we saw the most horrific racist abuse aimed at England players in their match against Bulgaria, which caused the match to be haulted on two occasions. Photos and clips followed of fans performing Nazi saultes and the racist chanting continued"

"I had a conversation with the FA's Chief Executive last night during the match, where I reiterated our support for the England players. The entire country will be proud of the England team last night."

"This abuse must be stamped out, no one should have to arrive at work to be subjected to any form of discrimination. Why are our players still being subjected to this? In future if players decide to walk off the pitch in protest, they must have the full support of this House, our press and football bodies."

"It would be irresponsible for us to condemn the behaviour of fans around the world without addressing the fact that many players have suffered racist abuse online, from the stands, and in their day-to-day lives, at the hands of a very small section of our own fans."

"A fine is not enough. So, I am asking our Government to ensure that we are backing up the FA to seek the harshest possible punishments. Stadium bans are a must, forfeiting matches and expulsion from tournaments must not be ruled out."

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