Gareth Southgate: ‘England must address own racism issues before blaming Russia’

  • Gareth-Southgate

Gareth Southgate: ‘England must address own racism issues before blaming Russia’

Gareth Southgate has claimed that England continues to have a “disgusting” racism problem that needs addressing before pointing the finger at World Cup hosts Russia.

Fears have been raised over the prospect of Three Lions players and fans suffering racist abuse at this summer’s tournament.

UEFA charged Spartak Moscow for racist chanting during a Youth League fixture against Liverpool in December, while Spartak were also criticised for a “racist” tweet about their own players.

Spartak defender Leonid Mironov was charged with racially abusing Reds striker Rhian Brewster, though the charge was later dropped.

However, Southgate stressed that England must “get our own house in order” on racism before making accusations about other countries, citing the comments made on a picture of an England youth team on social meia.

“We keep pointing the finger at Russia on racism, but we’ve got to get our own house in order,” Southgate told BBC Sport on Thursday.

“I can give you an example. I had a really interesting couple of hours with (racism campaigner) Troy Townsend a couple of weeks ago, speaking to our coaches. He showed a picture of our Under-16s on social media. The comments about that team were disgusting. They’re part of our England family.

“We have a club environment at St George’s Park. It is our training ground. Our teams mix and the youngsters look up to the senior team. I know most of those young players really closely and I’ve seen them come through. To see them abused in that way is absolutely disgusting. When we speak about other countries, I find it difficult to deflect what we’ve seen there.

“We have got to get our own house in order. There are still things going on in our own country around racism that aren’t correct. We keep pointing the finger at Russia, where we are going to be guests in the next couple of months, but we haven’t resolved the issue in our own country and until we do I think we should stop firing those things off elsewhere.”

The Three Lions are preparing to face the Netherlands in a friendly in Amsterdam on Friday, before hosting Italy at Wembley on Tuesday.