English football must address racism, says Southgate

Gareth Southgate says people should stop pointing fingers at Russia over racism in football and focus on similar issues in England.

England coach Gareth Southgate   -  Getty Images

England must "get their own house in order" regarding racism before pointing the finger at other nations, says Gareth Southgate.

Ahead of the World Cup in Russia there have been concerns that racist abuse could mar the tournament – fears heightened by the recent suspended stadium ban handed to Spartak Moscow for abusive chants against city rivals Lokomotiv.

Rather than focusing on issues in Russia, Southgate says English football has its own problems that need addressing to rid similar instances from the game.

The national team coach highlighted online abuse aimed at England's Under-17 World Cup-winning squad as a prime example of the current problems.

"In terms of anything that happens on the field, there are clear FIFA guidelines for how you have to report incidents," Southgate said.

"But I don't think we should just talk about racism in Russia. There are still things going on in our own country that aren't correct.

"So we keep pointing the finger at Russia, where we're going to be guests in the next few months. But we haven't resolved the issue in our own country, and until we do we should stop firing off elsewhere.

"I can give you an example. I had a really interesting couple of hours with Troy Townsend [a Kick It Out campaigner] a couple of weeks ago. He showed us a picture of our under-17s on social media. 

"The comments about that team were disgusting. So when we speak about other countries, I find it difficult to defend that with what we've seen here.

"To see them abused in that way is absolutely disgusting."

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