Livingston assistant manager Marvin Bartley calls on players to leave the pitch if they are victims of racist abuse
Livingston deputy manager Marvin Bartley has called on teams to leave the field if players are victims of racist abuse.
The 35-year-old, who was appointed Scotland’s FA Equality Advisor earlier this year, made the statement on ITV’s Good Morning Britain following alleged racist abuse suffered by England players during the their match in Hungary.
Bartley, who has spoken passionately on numerous occasions about the need to eradicate racism from football both at home and abroad, says it’s time for players to “take matters into their own hands” and stresses the fact that the penalties imposed by the game’s governing bodies have not been harsh enough.
He commented: “You have to leave the field. The way you hit them where it hurts is to leave the field when you’re racially abused and leave a team there.
“UEFA and FIFA for a long, long time, we hoped they had imposed sanctions that were strong enough and dissuasive enough and they just didn’t.
“They talked about Show Racism the Red Card and No to Racism and any discriminatory message from fans, but when it comes to fines, that doesn’t show it.
“So now it’s time to get off the pitch because it will hit them where it hurts.”
He added, “The broadcasters pay a lot of money to broadcast these games, the sponsors pay a lot of money to sponsor these games. Who is going to want to sponsor or broadcast a game which, after 20 minutes, if someone is racially abused, the team will leave the field?
“At the end of the day, FIFA and UEFA are there to make sure that football is a safe place for everyone. At the moment, it is not a safe place.
“Now it’s time for the footballers, because we are the product at the end of the day – without the players there is no UEFA, there is no FIFA – so if we don’t let’s not feel that we are represented by them and protected by them as we should be, let’s take matters into our own hands.
“Who’s going to want to watch a game where there’s only one team on the pitch? Who is going to want to sponsor a match for 90 minutes when after 20 minutes someone has been the victim of racist abuse and the other team leaves the field? “
In April, Bartley called on social media companies to do more to protect players from abuse, commenting: “Football has a powerful voice in society. We use this power wisely.
“We know we have a key role, but where it ends is we can’t force social media companies to stop people from being abused on their platforms. It can be racial, about someone’s sexuality or religion.
“I recently spoke to a player who was struggling to cope mentally with all of this because of the abuse.
“You have young people who seem like they can do the most extreme thing and kill themselves because they don’t feel protected. “
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