Euro 2020 qualifying: England players are prepared to walk off the field against Bulgaria
The team has been vocal about how it will respond to any racism
The England national team is set to face Bulgaria on Monday in Euro 2020 qualifying — stream via fuboTV (Try for free) — but don't be shocked if the game ends up being abandoned for a good cause. That's because the English team is considering walking off the pitch in Bulgaria if any of its players are a target of racial abuse. Chelsea's young star striker Tammy Abraham said England's players have decided to walk off the field in Sofia, ignoring UEFA's three-step procedure, if there is any form of racial abuse, according to The Guardian.
UEFA's current procedure calls for there to be an appeal over the PA system for the abuse to stop and then a temporary suspension of the game. The last resort would be to abandon the match. But England wants to take it into its own hands and stand up to the racism that exists in the sport.
Some Bulgarian supporters have demonstrated racist behavior in two matches in June and have been punished by UEFA with a partially closed stadium for its next two international matches, including for this match against the Three Lions.
"We've had meetings about it, and we've touched base on how to deal with the situation," Abraham said. "Harry Kane even said that if it happens and we're not happy with it, we all come off the pitch together.
"It's a team thing. Don't isolate one person. Harry did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps – if we decide that we want to stop the game, no matter what the score is – if we're not happy as a team we'll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.
"Watching the gaffer [Gareth Southgate] speaking yesterday, he was quite keen on putting a stop to it. No one wants it in football. It's not just affecting one person, it's affecting the team. If we decide that we don't want to play this game because of what's going on, we'll come off as a team.
"We'd just let the FA or whoever deal with whatever's next – the scores or what happens with the points. At the time, it's about making sure we're a team, we don't stand for it and we want the world to see that we don't stand for the silly abuse."
England is in first place in Group A with 12 points, three points ahead of Czech Republic. If England decides to walk off the pitch, there is also a possibility that its result could be forfeited. Let's hope for the sake of what's right, nobody partakes in any form of abuse and the game can be played and enjoyed.