Gareth Bale would lead Wales off pitch in face of racial abuse if necessary

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to England’s World Cup qualifier in Hungary

Phil Blanche
Saturday 04 September 2021 10:27
Wales captain Gareth Bale says he would be happy to lead his players off the pitch if they were subjected to racial abuse (PA)
Wales captain Gareth Bale says he would be happy to lead his players off the pitch if they were subjected to racial abuse (PA)

Wales captain Gareth Bale says he would support his players walking off the pitch in the face of racial abuse and called for repeat offenders to be kicked out of international football.

Bale leads Wales into World Cup qualifying action against Belarus on Sunday just days after England players Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling were racially abused and targeted with monkey chants in Hungary.

Fifa has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to England’s World Cup qualifier in Budapest on Thursday, with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham calling for “proper punishments”.

It has been suggested that players could walk off the field in future if the authorities fail to combat racist behaviour and Bale said: “If things don’t get sorted that will happen.

“If we felt we weren’t getting protection and being treated the right way by the governing bodies, and the only way to get the best response was to walk off, I’d be fully for it.

“Football qualifiers are important but these matters come way and above football.

“We haven’t discussed it. But we’d have that discussion if it happened and we’d all agree on it as we’re a team that sticks together and if anyone is being targeted we’ll do the right thing.”

Wales have themselves encountered racism on their travels to Eastern Europe in the past, and Bale said repeat offenders should be banned from international competition.

Gareth Bale will lead Wales in Belarus (David Davies/PA)

He said: “I don’t know the severity of what to do but the easiest thing is… whether you ban the fans from the stadium or if they keep repeatedly doing it, which seems to be what is happening, then you ban the country from the competition.

“If that country keeps making these horrible gestures, then maybe the best thing to do is to get rid of them, give them a suspension and hopefully they will learn their lesson that way.

“It’s frustrating. I don’t know why they launch these investigations that take so long when it is clear to see. Action should be taken to stop it.”