England seems to have the most at stake in this racism row. It was a British program that first broke the news about Polish/Ukranian fan culture, and the England team probably has the largest contingent of black players. France is up there as well. Worse, both teams are in Group D with Ukraine, the team whose fans who are supposedly the biggest offenders. Captain Steven Gerrard is now saying that the Three Lions have had some discussions, and, if anything should happen, they may walk off the field. This is different from what goalkeeper Joe Hart said earlier in the week.
”Players should not just keep quiet and play on like in my day,” said Ruud Gullit, the legendary Dutch midfielder who won the Euros in 1988 and spent half a season as coach of the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2008. “If a player is racially insulted, he should have the right to leave the field.”
That right appeared to be called into question in the days leading up to the tournament, when Michel Platini, president of European governing body UEFA, claimed that the correct response to any player leaving the field after being abused would be for the referee to issue them with a yellow card.
Platini has since backtracked and UEFA has attempted to take a stronger stance on racism, saving itself from another wave of international criticism.