Danny Rose’s admission that he cannot wait for his football career to be over is a “shocking indictment” of how racism is being handled, according to the Professional Footballers’ Association.
The Tottenham and England defender has said he has “had enough” in the wake of the abuse he received while playing for England in Montenegro last month, branding the way racism is dealt with by authorities as a “farce”.
The 28-year-old, who advised his family not to travel to the World Cup in Russia last summer due to racism fears, suggested he spends more money on a night out in London than offending countries get fined by UEFA.
The players’ union checked in with Rose on Friday to offer its support and has demanded stronger action be taken.
It said in a statement: “We have spoken to Danny directly, both after the Montenegro game and again today, to ensure he is aware that we are on his side and here to support him as a union and as fellow professionals.
“To see a senior England international so disheartened with his profession is a shocking indictment of the current experience of many players worldwide.
“The strongest possible sanctions must now be imposed on any team whose fans engage in racist behaviour from the stands.
“Fines are not proving effective, and therefore more strident punishments must be given – stadium bans and sporting sanctions are the minimum punishments required.”
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is keen for Rose to show the best way to combat the problem is by continuing as an “extraordinary” player.
Guardiola and Rose will come head-to-head next week when City visit Tottenham in the Champions League quarter-final and the Spaniard is keen for a chat with the left-back.
“Danny Rose has not to do that (retire),” Guardiola said.
“Next Tuesday, if I see him, I will tell him the best way to fight, to combat this kind of terrible situation, is fighting, being there every day.
“And, of course, because he’s an extraordinary player.”
Roy Hodgson gave Rose his first England cap in 2016 and is disturbed that a player still so young is wishing his career away.
The Crystal Palace manager said: “It is very disturbing that a player of that quality and the age he is as well, he is still relatively young and has a lot of football left in him, makes that decision that the racism side of the game is getting so bad and on top of him that he is even considering leaving it all behind earlier than he should.
The Spurs defender was subjected to monkey chants, along with Callum Hudson-Odoi, by Montenegro fans during England’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying win last month.
Kick It Out head of development Troy Townsend says that, as long as players feel they are being let down, they will get stronger in taking the matter into their own hands.
“The authorities, with all their resources and power, are failing them time and time again,” Townsend said in a Kick It Out column, released to Football Paradise.
“So players have little choice but to take matters into their own hands.
“This isn’t the first time Danny Rose has opened up about racial abuse he’s received.
“Danny has said he can’t wait to see the back of football, citing his disillusionment with ‘politics in the game’.
“Mark my words – there will be more and more players speaking out and taking increasingly bold steps in protest. And the sport’s image will suffer more.
“It’s a sorry state of affairs when a man is desperate to turn his back on his livelihood because his industry has failed to protect him – and so many others like him.”
UEFA is investigating the abuse received by Rose and Hudson-Odoi and is set to make a ruling next month.
Given the high-profile nature of the incident and the players involved, the pressure will be on Europe’s governing body to hand down a harsh punishment if Montenegro are found guilty.
Despite criticism of lenient penalties in the past, the minimum sanction for racist abuse is a partial stadium closure rather than a fine.
Croatian club Dinamo Zagreb were ordered to play their next two European games behind closed doors, while Lazio and Shakhtar Donetsk will face partial closures to their stadiums having been found guilty of racist behaviour last week.
Baroness Sue Campbell, the Football Association’s director of women’s football, says the sport should set the example for the rest of society that racism is unacceptable.
She told Press Association Sport: “I think Danny Rose’s comments are deeply upsetting. I think it’s a real shame that a great athlete, a great performer, feels like that about playing. I think it’s very sad.
“We at the FA are absolutely committed to do our absolute best to eliminate racism, but we can’t do it on our own. We have to work with UEFA, we have to work with the clubs.
“I think it’s really important to understand that football is a reflection of society and I’m afraid racism does exist, but what we can do as a brand in football, what everybody who comes to watch a game can do, is set an example, and I think we’ve all got to work at that.
“That includes other spectators calling it out. It can’t be just us doing it, we’ve all got to make a commitment to do it, and I think we’re absolutely determined to drive racism out of the game.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri has spoken of Hudson-Odoi’s strength of character, having seen the 18-year-old speak with maturity on the incident in Podgorica.
“Hudson-Odoi is very strong, he has a great character; he’s a very strong boy,” said Sarri.
Chelsea’s Italian boss also had his say on football’s latest high-profile racism incident, where Juventus youngster Moise Kean was racially abused at Cagliari.
Leonardo Bonucci criticised team-mate Kean for goading the fans that had abused him, before later rowing back from that in another statement.
Sarri added: “I was surprised that this happened in Cagliari. Usually in Cagliari it’s a good atmosphere in the stadium.
“I think Leonardo Bonucci made a mistake. But I am sure he probably wanted to say something different.
“Because I am sure Leonardo is not a racist. He made a mistake of course.
“We can only be an example for people. But it’s very difficult to solve the problem.”