Racism in football: Watford’s Troy Deeney says ‘one-strike’ policy needed


Troy Deeney has played for Watford since 2010

Racist abuse must be tackled with a “one-strike” policy rather than Uefa’s three-step protocol, says Watford captain Troy Deeney.

The European governing body’s rules state that a game can only be abandoned if fans have been warned twice before.

“We’re teaching kids now that you’re getting three strikes and you’re out,” said striker Deeney, 31.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Deeney said he has been racially abuse at stadiums and on “every post” on social media.

“There will be at least six to 10 comments I have to take down,” the Englishman added.

“It’s more on pictures of your kids, pictures of your partner. People are putting ‘you black such and such’, ‘you monkey emoji’, this, that and the other, or bananas and stuff like that.

“It’s very difficult to ignore it.”

Deeney said after Watford’s FA Cup semi-final win over Wolves in April he had to turn off comments on his social media accounts because the “barrage of abuse” was “non-stop”.

“It’s at that point when you go: ‘What am I going to do? Am I going to stand and argue or am I going to make a stand?'” he added.

“I’m very aware there are a lot of kids who watch what we do, and if we don’t change that they’re going to expect it to be normal.”

The recent incidents of racism in football include England players being abused by fans during a Euro 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia on 15 October.

The match was stopped twice by the referee under Uefa’s existing protocol but England chose to play on.

“Is that a good way of tackling the problem?” Deeney said of Uefa’s system. “Are we going to say now that it’s OK to do it three times?”

Bulgaria were fined £65,000 and ordered to play two matches behind closed doors – one suspended for two years – for the abuse.

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out said it was “disheartened but not surprised” and Deeney thinks tougher punishments are needed because fines of that size will not lead to nations “acting properly in terms of handling it”.

Deeney is part of Watford’s “We” campaign, which is attempting to tackle racism in football and gives supporters a way to help identify abusers on social media.


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