Pep Guardiola willing to walk-off City players to combat racism

Pep Guardiola is prepared to order his Manchester City players off the pitch if they are the victims of racial abuse.

Raheem Sterling, the City winger, was one of a number of black England players abused while playing away to Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday 25 March night.

Meanwhile domestically, four Chelsea supporters were suspended from Stamford Bridge in December after allegedly abusing Sterling.

Uefa opened formal disciplinary proceedings Montenegro this week, though appeals for greater sanctions and punishments followed Monday’s incidents.

Managers have been called to take their team off the pitch in protest if their players are the victims of racial abuse.

Though Guardiola said that any decision to withdraw his players would not be only his responsibility, he would fully support any such protest.

“We could do that,” he said. “Football is a strong weapon to defend the principles of humanity.

“I remember a long time ago people said you cannot mix politics and football. That is not true.

Politics is everywhere, human rights is everywhere.

“A long time ago in Valencia, Guus Hiddink didn’t play because there was a Nazi flag behind the goal.

“When the club and the players or organisation decide to do it, of course, we are going to follow them.”

Guardiola added: “I’m not alone at the club, I’m part of the club, I have to involve the club. It would have to involve the chairman, the CEO and of course the captain, the team, the players.

“If we all decide together then why not? The situation changes when you do something. If not it’s impossible and the situation is always the same.

“The problem is not about the football itself, it’s society. What happens in Europe, the extreme right side, the message they are sending to win the elections.

“We are not safe. It’s not football, it’s society itself.”

TNT Sport

Photo Credit: theScore

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