London (AFP) – Clubs or countries whose fans racially abuse players should be fined millions, docked points or even expelled from competitions, Viv Anderson, the first black footballer to play for England, told AFP.
The 62-year-old former full-back lambasted UEFA’s decision to fine Montenegro’s football authorities 20,000 euros ($22,400) for their fans’ racial abuse of England players, including Raheem Sterling and Danny Rose, in a Euro 2020 qualifier in March.
Anderson, an integral part of Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest side that won two European Cups and went on to play for Manchester United and Arsenal, said unless there was a real deterrent racism would not be quelled at football matches.
“If a fine is a million pounds, you dock points and chuck the team out of the competition the associations will soon wake up and go we need to do something about this,” said Anderson, speaking at the Sport Resolutions Annual Conference 2019 in London last week.
“By fining Montenegro 20,000 euros that’s actually saying ‘we accept what they are doing, just get on with it’.
“There has to be a serious deterrent. If you fine them millions, ban them and dock points, see how quickly it is remedied.”
Anderson, who went on to win 30 caps for England, drew a comparison with the punishment for acid attacks in Britain.
“When one man got 20 years (in December 2017) for an attack in a club, there have not been many acid crimes since then,” said Anderson.
He says is it not enough for players to leave the pitch in protest — administrators should take the lead if their players are racially abused.
“You can’t have teams and players walk off the pitch. It has to come from the top,” he said.
“Whoever runs Tottenham says to Harry Kane if that happens on the field you have the authority to take the team off.
“Same with the FA and other governing bodies – they say whatever repercussions come from that, we will deal with it.”
Anderson, whose 12-year-old son Freddie has caught the football bug and is a member of the Manchester City Academy, admires the manner in which City forward Sterling and Tottenham defender Rose have spoken out about racism.
“Them speaking out can only be good,” said Anderson.
“My professional mind would be thinking, (if I were) Raheem Sterling, I only want to win the league or if I were Danny Rose to play in the Champions League semi-finals.