| 13.7°C Dublin

harsh words 'It's disgusting in society, it's disgusting in football' - Brian Kerr's statement to football chiefs over racism


Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates after scoring

Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates after scoring

Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal celebrates after scoring

Brian Kerr has called on football authorities to once and for all eradicate "disgusting" racism in the game.

Kerr was speaking following Arsenal's 4-0 victory over Slavia Prague in the Europa League when Alexandre Lacazette made a powerful statement before the game, taking the knee in front of the entire Slavia line-up in a stand against racism.

Slavia were without Ondrej Kudela, the defender hit with a 10-game UEFA ban on the eve of the match having been found guilty of racially abusing Rangers midfielder Glen Kamara in their round of 16 clash.

Lacazette won widespread praise for the gesture and Kerr was robust in his criticism for the football authorities who, he says, have not been strong enough in punishing offenders for far too long.

"It's disgusting in society, it's disgusting in football and for far too long, UEFA and FIFA, as the authorities in world football, have been miles too lenient in dealing with not just players - I wouldn't say this player is unfortunate to be caught. But associations have been caught supporting players who have been out of order, supporting fans who have been out of order," said Kerr on Virgin Media Sport.

"And this is what I think we are going to have with the Czech Republic. We may have the football association or the government in the Czech Republic supporting the player and the club.

"This has gone on far too long, right around Europe. Groups like SARI (Sport against Racism in Ireland) for years have been trying to deal with UEFA and to get them to put out strong punishments to associations and clubs. Not just closing down sections of grounds, make them play away games for a long time, really punish them."

Citing the recent Black Lives Matter protests, Kerr added that it had taken too long for this "uprising" to happen.

Asked about the gesture, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explained that his players had requested permission to make a stand.

“They asked me and the club that they wanted to take that initiative,” he added.

“They had the right reasons for it, so the club was very supportive. I was supportive and thankfully the referee, and UEFA, they’ve been supportive. So I think it was a good gesture.

“They came to me, they wanted to take that initiative. We spoke with the club to make sure that we could follow the rules of UEFA and we can do it in the right way.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“We decided to take that approach, which I really like from the players, and I must say that UEFA was very supportive as well.

“The captains came to me and asked me to do that, and I just supported them like the club did.”

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Online Editors