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Young unfazed by possible Euro abuse

June 10, 2012

Having first suffered racist abuse on a football pitch at the tender age of 11, England striker Ashley Young is unfazed by the prospect of the problem re-emerging at Euro 2012.

The Manchester United star has become all too sadly accustomed to dealing with racism during his career, whether as a schoolboy or most recently on England duty during their qualifying win over Bulgaria in Sofia last year.

Racism has rarely been out of the early Euro 2012 headlines after Holland’s players were subjected to monkey chants in training before the Czech Republic’s Theo Gebre Selassie was abused by Russian fans on Friday according to witnesses.

Yet while UEFA have attracted criticism for warning that players who attempt to unilaterally protest abuse risk being sanctioned by referees, Young says he is happy to trust authorities to deal with the problem.

Last year Bulgarian authorities were fined by UEFA following the abuse against English players, a punishment Young hopes will be repeated if there are further cases during the Euros.

“In that game it was disappointing. It got dealt with by UEFA — Bulgaria got fined. That was the matter left. Hopefully it doesn’t happen in this tournament. If it does, I’m sure UEFA will deal with it,” Young said.

While aware of the abuse as it was happening, Young said he had little difficulty putting it to one side.

“It didn’t affect me. I can’t speak for other players. I had to block it out in that game and get on with it,” he said.

However despite the shocking treatment he received in Sofia, Young revealed the worst abuse he’d suffered came during his childhood — by another player.

“I was 11-years-old and was racially abused on the pitch. It was obviously disappointing to hear it at such a young age,” he recalled.

“You don’t expect to hear it at any age, but when you’re a youngster even more so, you don’t expect to hear it.

“I turned around, got on with the game and managed to score two goals. It’s one of those things. It shouldn’t be in football, especially nowadays.”

- AFP

For regular updates on EURO 2012, visit FMT’s sports section.


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