England news: Glen Johnson explains why he wouldn’t want to walk off the pitch if racially abused during a match


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Former England international Glen Johnson says he would rather not walk off the pitch if subjected to racial abuse – but would support his team-mates if they decided to do so.

The Three Lions visit Czech Republic and Bulgaria over the next seven days as they resume their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

The second game, in Sofia, will be particularly scrutinised as the hosts will be playing with the Vasil Levski National Stadium partially closed as a sanction following racism in the home games against both Kosovo and the Czech Republic.

5,000 seats at the Vasil Levski National Stadium must be empty for Monday’s match

Getty Images – Getty

5,000 seats at the Vasil Levski National Stadium must be empty for Monday’s match

And Chelsea star Tammy Abraham has revealed the team are ready to walk off the pitch if subjected to racial abuse.

Johnson admits that wouldn’t be his own personal course of action, but would join any team-mate who felt the need to walk off.

“Everyone is totally different in terms of emotion, mental strength, and how they deal with certain things,” he told talkSPORT.

“But, me personally, I wouldn’t want to come off. But if one of my team-mates wanted to, I would stand by them and walk off as a team together.

“What you don’t want to see is one or two walking off, then the lads on the pitch not knowing what to do, whether to stay or go.

Johnson explained what he would do if racially abused on the pitch

Talksport

Johnson explained what he would do if racially abused on the pitch

“If one player wants to leave, they should all stand by him and walk off together.

“I personally would prefer to deal with them in the professional way, try and walk off that way, but it’s not as easy as that when you are standing on the pitch and you are getting racially abused.

“So if anyone wants to walk off then I totally support their decision as well.”

UEFA have introduced a three-step protocol which is supposed to be followed in the event of racial abuse.

The first step is for the referee to be made aware of any racism and halt the game for an announcement to be made, while secondly – if the abuse continues – the referee will suspend the game for a period of time.

Abraham insists England players won’t think twice about walking off if racially abused

Getty Images – Getty

Abraham insists England players won’t think twice about walking off if racially abused

The third and final step will see the official abandon the game – and Johnson believes the problem has escalated since his time with the England squad.

He continued: “We’ve had situations where we’re going to a certain country and there would be a lot of speculation pre-warning you that you might be exposed to this.

“But when we had those chats, nothing actually happened in a game and it was all fine.

“The FA would try and prepare you as best they could, but in my experience, it never actually came the way we were expecting it.

“It seems to be a bigger issue now than it was when I was playing for England.”


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