EXCLUSIVE: Troy Deeney on the ongoing problems with racism in football

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Watford talisman Troy Deeney has voiced his opinion on the continuing issue of racism within association football at both international and club level.

Recent examples include England’s 6-0 win in Sofia where the match was stopped on two separate occasions due to racist behaviour from Bulgarian fans.

The Bulgarian ultras’ behaviour included Nazi salutes and monkey chants aimed at English players who decided to play on despite the continued abuse from the home nation.

The hosts already had a partial stadium closure for the match on October 14 because of prior racist exploits and have now been hit by a fine of 75,000 euros by UEFA.

A series of racist incidents have tarnished European football as of late. Examples include Brescia striker Mario Balotelli, who threatened to walk off the pitch after receiving alleged abuse, while Shakhtar Donetsk forward Taison was shown a red card for reacting to racist jeers from the crowd during a match.

UEFA’s rules state that a game can only be abandoned if fans have been warned twice before, and Watford captain Deeney has expressed his displeasure in the leniency of the regulations by the governing body.

“I think what England did was right, and I do believe they should be commended including the manager and team because they went by the three strike rule," Deeney said during an exclusive interview with GIVEMESPORT.

“However, the three strike rule is a load of nonsense. It shouldn’t be like that.

“It’s like teaching your kids not to draw on a wall, and then saying: ‘you’ve done it once, twice, three times….right, now I’m going to take the pen off you.’

Bulgaria v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

“Come on, no one teaches their kids like that, so I don’t know why we’d expect it to work in racism.

“Then you have the head of the FA, who could have applied pressure on UEFA after how well England conducted themselves…but he didn’t.

“He should have told them how unacceptable the situation is and how if this happens again we won’t be in any competitions.

I was like…’you bottled it. You’re a p***y.’

“And low and behold look what happened, a £64,000 fine.

“Between me and you, I can pay for that.”

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When asked to explain why he felt fines were ineffectual, Deeney responded: “I can pay a £64,000 fine. For a national team that is nothing!

“You have to play one game behind closed doors….what does that do? It says that it’s acceptable.

“Bendtner had the Paddy Power shorts on, £80,000 fine, how can that be more? It’s nonsense."

Deeney went on to discuss the Raheem Sterling case at Stamford Bridge, where a Chelsea fan was found guilty of racially abusing the 24-year-old Manchester City forward.

“If you look at the Raheem/Chelsea fan situation, it’s a big a** grown man, it’s not like it’s kids.

“If you were to flip the situation, and that person was screaming and shouting racist abuse at me, and I turn round and slap him. Who’s going to get a bigger punishment, me or him?

Chelsea FC v Manchester City - Premier League

“He will get basically nothing, yet I will get banned from playing, probably prosecuted, Adidas and Watford would fine me if I still had a job, yet this person got banned for a couple of months.

“How do you know that he hasn’t been to another game? Because there’s no facial recognition.

“We put athletes and sport stars on this pedestal and say you’re supposed to act this way, but everyone else around you can act how they want because there’s nothing to stop them.”

The 31-year-old concluded with potential solutions that could counteract the issue of racism in football.

“We must have accountability amongst ourselves.

“We are culture and we are in a position of power, and what we must understand is that there are responsibilities that come with that power.

“People don’t want to follow through with their actions. It’s a never ending cycle until we all hold ourselves accountable for our actions, until then….what do you expect to change.”

Deeney’s words will resonate with many of our readers and quite frankly the racist sanctions that are currently in place need to be far more severe.

The only way forward that seems plausible would be for the governing bodies to threaten supporters with their team’s potential disqualification from respective tournaments.

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