Netherlands captain Georginio Wijnaldum has asked UEFA to take stronger action against racism at Euro 2020. The Liverpool midfielder said that players who are racially abused should not decide whether they should walk off the field. He revealed that he had to think hard about doing so if he was subject to racial abuse in their round of 16 matches against the Czech Republic in Budapest. There have been incidents of racially motivated abuse reported during games at the Puskas arena.
“I’ve thought about it very carefully,” Georginio Wijnaldum said at Euro 2020. “I previously indicated that I would walk off but that was easier to say back then because I had never really run into that problem. After that, I started to think very hard about it. Gini, you will play in Hungary later in the tournament, what will you do if it happens? What if you play against a weaker team and those fans know that and they antagonize you to get you to walk off the field so that you lose the match?”
Wijnaldum maintained that the responsibility needs to be with UEFA as well as the match officials. Players should not be responsible for any decisions to be made. He said he would talk to the referee in case there is any racial abuse but also revealed that decisions at the heat of the moment could lead to dire consequences.
“UEFA must protect the players. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of the players,” he added. “Some players have walked off in the past but if you ask them if they felt supported, I think they’ll say they weren’t. If the referee, or maybe the opponents, jump in, then the signal is stronger. That’s what I’m thinking right now but I’m not ruling out walking off the field if something like that happens on Sunday.”