Former Leeds United player Chris Kamara backs Gareth Bale after Wales captain said he would support team-mates walking off pitch if racially abused

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Former Leeds United player and pundit Chris Kamara has been speaking about racism in football in response to Wales captain Gareth Bale saying he would support his teammates in a walk-off if they received racial abuse.

Speaking on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4, former player and manager Kammy said: “First and foremost, well done Gareth Bale… Solidarity, make sure if one individual decides enough is enough then they’re all together, that’s great.”

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Kamara went on to reflect on his own experiences, saying: “Do I think they should do that? Do I qualify to say that? I finished in ‘96, it was a long time ago. We worked so hard in the 70s and 80s where racism was 10 times worse than it is now… in football and in society as well…

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Chris Kamara on Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch.Chris Kamara on Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch.
Chris Kamara on Channel 4's Steph's Packed Lunch.

“We fought to get through that. Now, to think we worked so hard for the players coming through, for them to now walk off the pitch… I keep saying this, get the racists out the ground, that's what it’s all about.”

Talking about teams playing behind closed doors, Kamara said: “People keep saying let them play behind closed doors. I don’t know a single player who wants to play behind closed doors, the pandemic has proved that. Let’s get the racists out the stadiums, let’s get the cameras on them, let’s make sure they’re not involved in football.”

He added: “Racists use football as a conveyor belt… there’s no where else where they can be heard and that’s the thing we’ve got to stop, get them people out.”

England players Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling were racially abused and targeted with monkey chants in Hungary last week.

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FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to England’s World Cup qualifier in Budapest on Thursday, with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bellingham calling for “proper punishments”.

It has been suggested that players could walk off the field in future if the authorities fail to combat racist behaviour and Bale said: “If things don’t get sorted that will happen.

“If we felt we weren’t getting protection and being treated the right way by the governing bodies, and the only way to get the best response was to walk off, I’d be fully for it.

“Football qualifiers are important but these matters come way and above football.

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“We haven’t discussed it. But we’d have that discussion if it happened and we’d all agree on it as we’re a team that sticks together and if anyone is being targeted we’ll do the right thing.”

Wales have themselves encountered racism on their travels to Eastern Europe in the past, and Bale said repeat offenders should be banned from international competition.

He said: “I don’t know the severity of what to do but the easiest thing is… whether you ban the fans from the stadium or if they keep repeatedly doing it, which seems to be what is happening, then you ban the country from the competition.

“If that country keeps making these horrible gestures, then maybe the best thing to do is to get rid of them, give them a suspension and hopefully they will learn their lesson that way.

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“It’s frustrating. I don’t know why they launch these investigations that take so long when it is clear to see. Action should be taken to stop it.”

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