Football is a strong weapon to defend the principles of humanity, says Guardiola

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling was among the England players who claimed to have been subjected to racist abuse in Montenegro.

Published : Mar 29, 2019 21:21 IST

Raheem Sterling (l) and Pep Guardiola.
Raheem Sterling (l) and Pep Guardiola.

Raheem Sterling (l) and Pep Guardiola.

Pep Guardiola believes football has the power to help tackle the issue of racism in wider society after unsavoury scenes during the international break.

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling said he suffered racist abuse during England's win in Montenegro, with Callum Hudson-Odoi making the same claim.

Asked if the problem was getting worse in football, Guardiola insisted it was a matter that was of growing concern beyond the world of sport.

"It's getting worse in Europe, not just football," he said, before suggesting he would be willing to take his team off the field if his players were the targets of such vitriol.

"We could do that. Football is a strong weapon to defend the principles of humanity.

"People say you cannot mix football and politics. That is not true.

"We could do it, yes. I'm not alone in the club, I would have to involve the club and my captain and have to decide, but why not?

"The situation changes when you do something, otherwise it changes nothing.

"The problem is not about football itself, it's about society. The extreme right is going there. And the message is being sent to win elections, to win votes."

Numerous charges were brought against Montenegro – including one for racist behaviour – following the game in Podgorica and UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary board will hear the case on May 16.

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