Watford ace Christian Kabasele echoes Raheem Sterling’s call to get tough on football racism — and urges refs to take players off the pitch

Watford ace Christian Kabasele echoes Raheem Sterling’s call to get tough on football racism — and urges refs to take players off the pitch


A PREMIER League ace has echoed Raheem Sterling’s call to get tough on football racism — and urged refs to take players off when it happens.

Watford star Christian Kabasele, 28 — who once tried to fight racist fans in Bulgaria — also demanded hefty fines and jail for offenders.

Raheem Sterling
Footballer Raheem Sterling was subjected to racist chants from Montenegro fans
Rex Features

He said: “Maybe the only way to solve it is for a white player or referee to say, ‘Enough is enough’ and lead teams off. Someone needs to take responsibility.

“It should be a referee but they never seem to hear anything. Their attitude is they don’t trust players.

“In other countries we’ve seen black players booked for telling them of racist abuse.”

He spoke out after Montenegro fans aimed monkey chants at Raheem, 24, and teammates Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi in England’s 5-1 triumph there on Monday.

Raheem Sterling
Raheem has called for race-row stadiums to be shut down
Getty Images – Getty

Raheem pulled his ears in defiance after scoring the game’s last goal — and later called for race-row stadiums to be shut.

Uefa chiefs charged the East European country but Christian, agrees with Raheem that governing bodies are too lax.

The defender, born in DR Congo, said: “The feeling among all players, especially black ones, is authorities aren’t doing enough.

“Every time an incident is investigated the outcome seems to be ’not enough proof’ even though we all saw and heard it.

Kabasele
Watford star Kabasele wants jail sentences for racist fans
Jamie McPhilimey – The Sun

“Sometimes it feels investigators trust the word of the abusers more than players.”

Top football figures also backed his call to halt games marred by race-hate.

Three Lions skipper Harry Kane, 25, said: “I’m supportive of my teammates.

“If it happened again and they wanted to talk about it and take a breather, I’d back them. We’re a team — we stand behind every one of our players.”

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola added: “I’d have to involve the club, chairman, CEO, my captain, the team and players. If we all decide we can signal to do it, why not?”

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino chimed in: “If I feel the abuse and I hear it, then out. Stop. Stop. There’s nothing more important in this life than to protect values and principles.”

Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp said of the racism blight: “We have to speak loud about it.

Kabasele
Kabasele faced racist fans in Bulgaria
Peter Tarry – The Sunday Times

“We have to finish it finally. Whatever I could do, I would. It’s disappointing something like this is still possible.”

He said he would be reluctant to see games halted over one or two race morons. But he said if an entire stand in a stadium was being racist, he would take his stars off.

Christian joined Watford from Belgium’s Racing Genk in 2016 and has found racism rare in the English game.

But that is a far cry from his hell playing for Bulgaria’s Ludogorets Razgrad in 2011-12 — where his complaints fell on deaf ears.

Danny Rose
Danny Rose was also subjected to racist taunts from Montenegro fans
AP:Associated Press

He said: “Racism was everywhere in Bulgaria and normal for people there. At every away game I was subjected to monkey chants.

“You are treated like an animal and it is very hurtful.

“I was only 20 and would get mad. So much so that once I even tried to fight fans doing it.

“We were playing in the capital, Sofia, and the monkey chants were non-stop.

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“What I did wasn’t the smartest move, but I couldn’t take any more.

“Luckily, staff and teammates held me back and calmed me down. But I was seen as the strange one. I was being abused at every away game and people thought nothing wrong of it.

“I was expected to get on with it. If you complained, you were seen as a troublemaker.

“When I raised it with senior people at the club, I was told it was part of my job as a footballer and I had to accept it.

Raheem Sterling
Raheem Sterling has called for tougher action against racist fans at stadiums
Getty Images – Getty

“The view was I was a footballer on good money and if fans wanted to chant racist abuse, it was no big deal — I should just stay silent.

“But racism has no place in football or society and when it happens people must speak up.”

And playing for Belgian side Genk in 2015, he also endured monkey chants during an away game at KV Kortrijk. He recalled: “I was hopping mad and asked myself, ‘‘Did they really do that?’’

“Afterwards I went on Instagram and posted a photo of a monkey and one of me with the message, ‘Do we really look the same?’ The worst thing is Instagram deleted my post and said I wasn’t respecting their rules and other users.

Raheem Sterling
Top football figures also backed his call to halt games marred by race-hate
Times Newspapers Ltd

“That left me angry and shocked. I asked for an explanation but they never gave me one.”

Christian said his white wife Priscillia, mum of their young son Liam, has been reduced to tears by crowd racism.

And he has a pointed message for “under-educated” race yobs.

He said: “They don’t have the sense to realise that, despite differing colours and countries, at the end of the day we’re the same.

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“I feel very sorry for people who have so little going on in their lives that they feel the need to go into a stadium and be so hateful like this.

“There is clearly something wrong with them.”

  • CRYSTAL Palace head of coaching David Muir has quit over claims he made a racial slur in a bar while on an FA course.

How Prem tackles it

  • Arsenal – Banned six supporters and arrested 19 home and away fans for “racist incidents” in three years.
  • Leicester City – A well-publicised reporting scheme for racist incidents. The club supports bans and prosecutions.
  • Bournemouth – One active temporary ban and one lifetime ban. Club suspends accounts to prevent ticket purchases.
  • Liverpool – One active temporary ban and one lifetime ban. Club suspends accounts to prevent ticket purchases.
  • Brighton – Two away fans arrested for racist behaviour. Encourages fans to report racism to stewards and by text.
  • Man City – Operates a minimum 12- match ban for displaying discriminatory behaviour in or outside the stadium.
  • Burnley – Did not wish to give figures or details. Website says they do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour.
  • Man United – Six arrested for racism. Club runs AllRedandEqual campaign. Virtual steward helps fans report racism.
  • Cardiff – No racism banning orders in force. Fans can report any offensive behaviour via Kick It Out app or line.
  • Newscastle – Fans can report racist behaviour by text. Club doesn’t tolerate any racist abuse and supports bans.
  • Chelsea – Did not respond. Their website says they take an active role in campaigns such as Kick It Out.
  • Southampton – Did not respond. Website says all discrimination is unacceptable. Will refer serious cases to police.
  • Crystal Palace – Probes all racist allegations. No supporters on bans. Season ticket suspension or ban for such incidents.
  • Tottenham – Zero tolerance policy on racist behaviour. Any fans caught face indefinite ban. Abuse is reported by text.
  • Everton – Fans chanting in an indecent or racist nature will face a banning order, court action or club veto.
  • Watford – Committed to identifying, confronting and eliminating discrimination. Text line for fans to report abuse.
  • Fulham – Zero tolerance to racist behaviour. Advises telling stewards, Kick It Out hotline or Kick It Out app.
  • West Ham – Anyone committing abusive or violent behaviour will be reported to police and faces a lifetime ban.
  • Huddersfield – Four bans in place for racism offences. The Terriers Together scheme encourages diversity. Text hotline.
  • Wolves – Zero tolerance towards racial abuse, which will result in arrest and club will support police action.

‘Deduct points and shut the grounds’

By Thea Jacobs

CAMPAIGNERS Kick It Out want clubs with racist supporters to lose points or be forced to play in empty stadiums.

The anti-racism group also said Uefa chiefs should have stepped in during the Montenegro chanting — by warning fans via the stadium PA.

Troy Townsend, its head of development, said: “There was a clear protocol that officials should have followed and didn’t.

“Match officials and delegates need to be empowered by governing bodies to take action.

“Without that, players will start to take power into their own hands.”

Kick It Out also wants anti-racism rules to be better enforced at lower levels of the game.


He said: “Racism goes on regularly at grassroots level and the same perpetrators go into stadiums.

“It has to be punished right across the game.”

And Mr Townsend urged authorities to be quicker and more open when dealing with race thugs.

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