England players could walk off the pitch if subjected to racist abuse

England could walk off the pitch if any players are subjected racist abuse during the upcoming double header of European Championships qualifiers.

Gareth Southgate’s side visit Prague to face Czech Republic on Friday, seeking to maintain their 100% start to Group A, before traveling to Bulgaria.

Monday’s match in Sofia will take place in a partially closed stadium as part of a sanction against Bulgaria for the conduct of their fans during matches with the Czech Republic and Kosovo in June.

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England players Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi found themselves victims of abuse in Montenegro in March, as part of a spate of racist incidents across European and English football towards the end of last season.

READ MORE: The racist incidents shaming football

READ MORE: England and Tottenham defender Danny Rose distressingly admits he 'cannot wait' to retire due to racism in football

Raheem Sterling has been one of the footballing stars to lead the anti-racism fight (Credit: Getty Images)
Raheem Sterling has been one of the footballing stars to lead the anti-racism fight (Credit: Getty Images)

And England’s players are prepared to leave the field if there is a repeat of such incidents, according to striker Tammy Abraham.

"If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us," said Abraham, who himself was subjected to racist abuse on social media in August, told a news conference.

"Harry Kane even said that if we're not happy, if a player is not happy, we all come off the pitch together."

Rose and Hudson-Odoi were targeted in England’s 5-1 victory in Montenegro, with Raheem Sterling offering a response to the fans after he scored the fifth goal.

Montenegro were subsequently fined €20,000 and ordered to play their next match behind closed doors.

Southgate told media in September he would speak to the players about how they wished to handle any future incidents of abuse, while UEFA have their own three-step protocol to help deal with such incidents.

At first, the referee will halt the match and request an announcement over the PA system to stop such behaviour. If it continues, the second stage is to halt the match for a reasonable amount of time and request teams go to the dressing room.

If it persists, the final step can see the match abandoned.

Danny Rose was subjected to abuse in March when England travelled to Montenegro. (Credit: Getty Images)
Danny Rose was subjected to abuse in March when England travelled to Montenegro. (Credit: Getty Images)

Abraham added: "(England captain) Harry Kane 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 with it, as a team we'll decide whether or not to stay on the pitch.

"If it happens and let's say there's a warning or whatever in the stadium, then it happens again, we have to make a decision as a team and with the staff."

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold also backed the decision, citing ‘extreme’ circumstances would make the move necessary.

The 21-year-old said: "If it does get extreme we may have to take a different action.

"It's a team decision, one that we all need to make. It doesn't matter if one player is abused or the team - we are one group.

"Nobody should be made to feel uncomfortable on the pitch. Everyone should be given the chance to play in a fair environment. We are a team. If one person is abused then we all are, we are one big family."

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