Belfast Telegraph

Watford captain Troy Deeney wants instant action taken against racist abuse

The striker revealed he had been subjected to a “barrage of abuse” online.

Watford forward Troy Deeney says it is time to call out all forms of discrimination (John Walton/PA)
Watford forward Troy Deeney says it is time to call out all forms of discrimination (John Walton/PA)

By PA Sport Staff

Racist abuse should result in instant action being taken and not allow any more opportunities of further discrimination, according to Watford captain Troy Deeney.

Bulgaria were fined 75,000 euros (£64,641) and ordered to play their next competitive home game behind closed doors, with a further match suspended for two years, following the racist behaviour of their fans during the Euro 2020 qualifier against England on October 14.

Under the current UEFA guidelines for abuse during matches, the anti-racism protocol has three steps, which include the game being stopped and a public address announcement being made.

On Sunday, Brescia striker Mario Balotelli was set to walk off at Verona following racist chants from a section of the home support, before eventually being persuaded to play on.

Earlier this week, Watford confirmed the club had reported racist abuse directed at defender Christian Kabasele to Hertfordshire Constabulary.

The Belgian had earlier flagged up the abusive post as part of Watford’s ‘#BuzzOff’ campaign, which calls out discrimination on social media.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4, Deeney revealed he had been subjected to a “barrage of abuse” online and it was time to make a stand.

Reflecting on UEFA’s anti-racism protocol, the Watford striker said: “Is that a good way of tackling the problem? Are we going to say now that it’s OK to do it three times?

“We are teaching kids now that you are getting three strikes and you are out.”

Deeney reflected on the “non-stop” abuse he received.

“I’ve had it in the past at certain grounds where you get racial abuse and you get targeted,” the striker said.

“Naturally I’m the pantomime villain with how I play, and I do like to engage with the fans and have a bit of banter, but sometimes it can overstep the boundaries.”

Deeney added: “There will be at least six to 10 comments I have to take down. 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 as the man of the house, your aim is to protect them (your family), and you feel like you can’t.”

Deeney, who is working his way back to fitness after a knee injury, feels taking stern action is the only way to change mindsets.

“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 said.

“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.”

Deeney insists what he does for a living should have no reflection on the issues of racism and how to resolve them.

“There is a wider problem because naturally people say footballers earn such a large amount of money, you should be able to deal with the abuse that comes with it,” the Watford forward said.

“It is nonsense, because we are all humans at the end of the day.

“With the campaigning that we have started at Watford, we feel as though we are trying to show that players are human as well. We are people.”

Belgian defender Kabasele believes players continuing to speak out over racism is a positive move.

“There is a lot more talking, which is a good thing, that people speak about this loudly, we need to keep saying (against it),” he said on Sky Sports News.

Kabasele joined Watford from Genk in the summer of 2016, and feels the issues across Europe need to be tackled head on.

He said: “In Bulgaria, it was every week when a black player had the ball at his feet, and we saw it with the England team as well.

“They see it as a funny thing ‘let’s do this because they are just animals’ – at the end of the day, they do not get punished.”

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice revealed he felt “awkward” on the bench as England players were abused in Bulgaria.

He told Sky Sports News: “I was on the bench, I was sat next to Joe Gomez and I said to him ‘I feel so awkward sitting here’.

“You could literally hear it as clear as day.

“It puts you in an awkward position, you feel so uncomfortable sitting there listening to it all and seeing the players deal with it on the pitch.

“The way they stood up and went and beat them 6-0, smashed them on the pitch, had our heads held high.

“Now it is down to UEFA and FIFA to do their things.”

PA

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