Euro 2020 qualifying: Uefa would scramble emergency panel should England walk off in face of racism

Lawrence Ostlere
The Independent
Danny Rose was racially abused in Montenegro in March: PA
Danny Rose was racially abused in Montenegro in March: PA

Uefa would be forced to convene an emergency panel should the England team decide to ignore the governing body’s three-step protocol and walk off the pitch in the face of racism during their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers in Czech Republic and Bulgaria.

The game in Sofia next Monday will be played in front of a reduced crowd after Bulgaria were found guilty of racist behaviour during their June qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Kosovo, while several black England players were abused during a 5-1 win over Montenegro in Podgorica earlier this year.

The squad held a meeting on Monday, helmed by the captain Harry Kane, to discuss what to do in the face of racist abuse from the stands, and the Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham revealed they would be prepared to ignore Uefa procedure which leaves responsibility with the referee to take matters into their own hands.

Walking off the field would be unprecedented in any Uefa competition and The Independent understands there are currently no guidelines in place specifically to deal with such an event.

It means Uefa would turn to article 69.01 of its regulations which covers “unforeseen circumstances” or cases of “force majeure”, and states: “Matters... will be decided by the Uefa Emergency Panel, or if not possible due to time constraints, by the Uefa President, or, in his absence, by the Uefa General Secretary.”

The regulations add that any decision made by the emergency panel would be final and not subject to an appeal.

Abraham suggested that Uefa’s three-step protocol was not strong enough and that “one strike” should be enough, although he said that England will attempt to follow the process and only “make a decision” if required.

“We’ve touched base on how to deal with the situation,” he said. “Harry Kane even said that if it happens and we’re not happy with it, we speak to player and if he’s not happy, we all come off the pitch together. It’s a team thing. Don’t isolate one person, we’re a whole team. If it happens to one of us, it happens to all of us.

“We did speak about that. Harry Kane did ask the question about instead of going through the three steps, if we decide that we want to stop the game and 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.

“I do [think it could happen]. Watching the gaffer 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. It’s a team decision if we decide in the end that we don’t want to play this game anymore because of what’s going on, we’ll come off as a team.”

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England prepared to break protocol and walk off if racially abused

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