Ex-Manchester City star Shaun Wright-Phillips, 37, tells GMB it would be a 'massive step' if England players walked off the pitch were they subjected to racial abuse in Bulgaria next month

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  • Shaun Wright-Phillips told GMB he supports England walking off the pitch
  • Black players have endured monkey chants in Eastern European fixtures
  • The team is considering whether to walk off en masse if it happens next month 
  • The former England player said it had been ‘not nice’ when it happened to him 
  • He said he had endured monkey chants and called for life bans of racist fans

Shaun Wright-Phillips called for lifetime bans for racist fans on GMB this morning

Shaun Wright-Phillips called for lifetime bans for racist fans on GMB this morning

He supported the idea that England should walk off the pitch if black players are abused

He supported the idea that England should walk off the pitch if black players are abused 

Shaun Wright Phillips in a recent Instagram post with his family including son D'Margio Wright-Phillips who recently signed for Manchester City

Shaun Wright Phillips in a recent Instagram post with his family including son D’Margio Wright-Phillips who recently signed for Manchester City

Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) is the son of former England star Ian Wright (right), pictured playing together during the Martin Keown testimonial match at Highbury in 2004

Shaun Wright-Phillips (left) is the son of former England star Ian Wright (right), pictured playing together during the Martin Keown testimonial match at Highbury in 2004

Former England footballer Shaun Wright-Phillips has said it would be a ‘massive step’ if the national football team were to walk off the pitch in the event of racist abuse of black players.

The retired Manchester City star told Good Morning Britain that he had been the target of monkey chants during his own career, and said teams whose fans shout racist abuse should forfeit the game.

He also called for lifetime bans for racist fans, saying that ‘taking away something they love’ would expunge racist abuse from the game forever. 

Black England players were racially abused by locals during their victory over Montenegro earlier this year, and there are growing fears that members of Gareth Southgate’s side will be targeted when they travel to Sofia in October.

UEFA fined the Bulgarian FA after alleged racist chanting towards black players during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia in September 2011.

It is understood the option of walking off the field should an England player be racially abused is to be considered at a meeting of the team, though the squad is understood to be against such a stance.

Today Wright-Phillips said: ‘I think it’d be a massive step. They would show a stand and say “look we’re not taking it any more”.

‘And my team mates that are not of ethnic colour or origin are backing me as well, so they’re swinging the same way as everyone else who watches it, and the people up above it are trying to help it.’

He went on: ‘If its proven that there’s racial abuse, the team’s fans where there’s abuse should quit the game as a loss and the result should go to the winner basically. 

‘I feel like, they have to stump up and say “we don’t want this because otherwise we’ll lose the game and we might not qualify for the world cup”. ‘

He clarified: ‘The team that hurls the abuse should suffer the loss.’ 

Wright-Phillips, son of England international Ian Wright, added: ‘My dad always said if you walk off you’re giving them what they want – but at the end of the day the players are at their last resort it should even get to them, so what do you do next?’

UEFA fined the Bulgarian FA after alleged racist chanting towards black players during a Euro 2012 qualifier in Sofia in September 2011.

It emerged on Wednesday that a Bulgaria fan was ejected from Wembley and subsequently arrested for allegedly racially abusing Raheem Sterling during England’s 4-0 win on Saturday.

But the FA are aware their players of ethnicity could be targeted for racial abused in Sofia next month and will hold discussions aimed at coping with any incidents of prejudice.

This morning Wright-Phillips, who was capped 36 times for England, said that he had endured monkey chanting, and ‘noises and sounds’ during his career as a player, adding: ‘Its not nice, but at the end of the day I didn’t want to let me team down so I had to try to block it out.

‘It’s very hard – especially when you don’t see people suffering the consequences.’

He called for lifetime bans, saying: ‘In football there’s passion so you have lifelong fans, they bring their sons up, their grandchild comes. 

‘So I feel like, if you take away something someone loves maybe it might make people behave – and if it does’t at least it’s not in the stadium.’

Asked whether his famous father ‘despairs’ that racist abuse is still going on, he said: ‘It happened then, it happened through me, and I’m really hoping it doesn’t happen to my son’

D’Margio Wright-Phillips has just signed for Manchester City, aged 17.

He went on: ‘It’s awful but I’ve told him, “let your football do the talking”. If you’re a footballer there will be certain silly people in the world who try to set you down. But just focus on your football.

‘I think he’s gonna be better than me. He’s a lot trickier, I was quote direct, he’s got more tricks about him.’

England manager Southgate has said of the Sofia fixture: ‘It is a concern. It’s something that we’ve already planned; we’re going to discuss it with the players before we go, because we’re aware that there is history there and we want to make sure that we’re all prepared for what might happen and how we want to respond.

‘So, we are going to address that when we all get back together. We have to hope – but we’re not confident that we’ll go there and nothing will happen.’ 

Southgate has also pleaded with England supporters to behave when they travel to the Prague for the clash against Czech Republic on October 11, three days before the qualifier in Sofia.    



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