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Mar 7, 2013

Defoe urges tough racism stance

Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has urged the game's authorities to come down hard on supporters who chant racist abuse inside football stadiums.

Defoe, who was a victim of racist chants from Lazio fans in a Europa League tie earlier this season, admitted he fears racism is not being controlled by football's governing bodies as he has called for heavier punishments to deal with the problem.

"It is really disappointing when you see this kind of thing and it seems to be happening a lot at the moment," stated Defoe, as he was quizzed about the subject of racism in football at Tottenham's training HQ in Enfield.

"I had a bit of it in the Lazio game and to be honest I didn't notice it at the time. I was focused on the game and not want the fans were shouting at me, but someone told me what was being said afterwards and it did upset me.

"I was just doing my job and trying to win a football game for my team, so you don't expect that kind of abuse to come your way.

"If you had that kind of abuse in everyday life, you would tend to get up and walk away from the person who is giving it out, so it is not acceptable in football and the authorities have to be tough on it."

Defoe admitted he admired AC Milan's Kevin Price-Boateng for his decision to lead his team off the pitch when he came under a barrage of racist abuse in January, but he admitted he didn't know if he would be prepared to follow such a decisive path.

"I'm not sure if I would go as far as walking off a football pitch and refusing to play," he said. "It obviously depends how you are feeling at the time, but it is clear that we need to make sure this racism problem is taken out of football because no one needs it."