Georginio Wijnaldum will not walk off the pitch when racist chants of racist chants sound in Budapest on Sunday at the round of 16 of the European Championship between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. The Dutch captain has given this a lot of thought, after French forward Kylian Mbappé was racially charged earlier this European Championship in the Puskás Aréna in the Hungarian capital.
In November 2019 Wijnaldum said at a press conference of the Dutch national team that he would step off the field with racist chants. He said that in the wake of the incident with Excelsior player Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who was racially assaulted by SUPPORTERS of FC Den Bosch.
“I have to say honestly that it was easier to say that then,” Wijnaldum said at a press conference of the Dutch national team on Thursday. “Now I have asked myself the question: ‘Gini’, you will be playing in Hungary and what do you do when racist noises come? And what if you play against a lesser team and the fans of that team know you’re going to walk off the field? It may just be that you lose the game when you step off the field.”
Wijnaldum concluded that it is better to place the responsibility on the referee and UEFA. “They have to make a decision for the players. UEFA must be leading and protecting players. For example, by saying that the game will be stopped if it does not stop.”
‘Players don’t really feel supported’ (Wijnaldum)
The 30-year-old Wijnaldum does not rule out that he will eventually walk off the field with racist chants. “But I did start to think differently. I hope never to experience it, but if it happens, I will go to the referee and consult.”
The 78-time international stressed that this is better because the responsibility is not with the player.
“There are a few players who have walked off the pitch, but who didn’t really feel supported in doing so and afterwards. It’s better if the referee stops the game or the opposing team says they won’t put up with it. Then you can walk off the field with two teams. That makes the player who is being racially perceived feel better.”
The round of 16 between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic starts on Sunday at 6pm at the Puskás Aréna in Budapest, which will most likely sell out. There will be more than 60,000 spectators.
JOIN US ON FACEBOOK