Dutch captain Georginio Wijnaldum called on UEFA to take stronger action against racism and said abused players should not have to decide to leave the pitch in protest.
Wijnaldum said he had thought long and hard about leaving the pitch if he faced racism when the Netherlands face the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 round of 16 on Sunday in Budapest.
UEFA is currently investigating allegations of racist and homophobic behavior by fans following incidents during Hungary’s first two Group F matches at Puskas Arena.
“I have thought about it very carefully,” said Wijnaldum, who will wear an armband with the words “One Love” and a rainbow motif at a diversity stand in Budapest.
“I had already indicated that I would leave, but it was easier to say at the time because I had never really encountered this problem.
“After that I started to think about it very hard. Gini, you will be playing in Hungary later in the tournament, what will you do if that happens? What if you play against a weaker team and these fans know it? and annoys you to make you leave the field so that you lose the match? ”
Wijnaldum said responsibility for the action lies with match officials and UEFA.
“I think I’ll go see the referee but, to be honest, I don’t know what my reaction will be in the heat of the moment,” he said.
“I have never experienced it myself and I hope I never will. But if it does happen, UEFA must act. They must realize that if they don’t, they are putting a strain on it. great responsibility on the players.
“UEFA has to protect the players. It shouldn’t be the players’ responsibility.
“Some players have left in the past, but if you ask them if they felt supported, I think they will say they weren’t.
“If the referee, or maybe the opponents intervene, then the signal is stronger. That’s what I’m thinking at the moment, but I’m not ruling out leaving the field if something like this happens. Sunday.”