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Defender wants to help tackle racism

HAPPY TO GET A RED CARD: Campbell (left) with Canoville and Hislop

THE DIFFICULTIES with funding could not have come at a worse time; following the recent racial abuse that black England players were subjected to in the Bulgaria Euro 2012 qualifying match in Sofia.

Leading the group, which included Chelsea’s first black player Paul Canoville and former goalkeeper Shaka Hislop, was Premier League stalwart Sol Campbell.

Campbell spoke to theVoice of Sport (TVOS) about his concerns over the Euro 2012 championships finals and racism in the beautiful game.

TVOS: The Euro 2012 tournament will be held in Poland and Ukraine, do you think they will be able to ensure that teams with black players won’t be subject to racism?

SC: Poland, Ukraine, Croatia, are all fantastic places when you go on holiday but when it comes to football, it’s on a different level.
Racism is a massive problem there, how are they going to get rid of that? They’ve got no chance. I think it’s worse over there than it’s ever been in England, the countries really have to clean themselves up.

TVOS: Have you experienced racism on the pitch

SC: When I first started I played at Roker Park [Sunderland’s former ground] in an FA Cup game for Tottenham and I got racist abuse every time I touched the ball. I felt sick. I thought ‘what is going on?’ And when I was playing against Northampton in a cup game with Tottenham, the whole back stand did monkey chants.

TVOS: Does racism affect you mentally as a player?

SC: It’s different for each player, if your there for a game, an hour and a half, you can get on with it. But if you’re playing there week in and week out, I think it’s difficult.”

PLAYING DAYS: Campbell in action for Newcastle United

TVOS: How do you think it would affect the game if organisations like Show Racism The Red Card could not secure funding?

SC: We can’t think of that because if you start losing these types of campaigners, especially in these economic times, that’s how racism creeps back in and if it did it could come back big time.

TVOS: Do you think Show Racism The Red Card has made a difference in football; can help rid the sport of racism?

SC: Yes it has gotten better, but only because they have done the work and wanted to keep it going. Others didn’t want to participate or be attached to it because it may have affected their sponsorship. If these things weren’t around nothing would happen, we would be talking about it one day and it would be fish and chip paper the next. If it doesn’t (change) I will have to turn my back on everything, because if not then where are you going?”

TVOS: Do you think the media have a role to play?

SC: Absolutely, they have to expose these [racist] people, but big business gets in the way. The media forget about it because they want to do business with them.

TVOS: What do you have planned for the future?

SC: I will be doing a mixture of things, playing for another year or something like that. If you want to get your badges and be a manger, that takes 15-18 months. I might also do a bit of TV.


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