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Netherlands captain Wijnaldum ready to walk away if racially abused

Netherlands national football team captain, Georginio Wijnaldum has emphasized leaving the pitch if anyone directs racial abuse. The Netherlands will next play their Euro 2020 last-16 football match in Budapest. The 30-year-old Dutchman has indicated that he may walk off the field if he or his Netherlands teammates are subjected to racist insult during their Euro 2020 round of 16 matches against the Czech Republic.

The two teams will meet at Budapest’s Puskas Arena on Sunday, only days after local Hungarian supporters hung a banner in front of France’s game against Portugal, demanding that players cease kneeling before games.

Wijnaldum, Netherlands captain has urged UEFA to protect players and take stronger action against racism. “UEFA should be there to protect the players and make the decision,” Wijnaldum responded when asked how he would react, quoted by ESPN. “It should not be left to the players. Players often get punished for protecting themselves so UEFA needs to take a lead role in this. I have said I don’t really know how I will react in such a situation.”

“I thought first that I would walk off the pitch but maybe not now because maybe the opponent will think ‘let them throw racist slurs and they will walk off the pitch. It could be the case that I will walk off the pitch but I will speak with the players about it first. It is not just against Hungary,” Wijnaldum continued. 

“The armband means a lot because we stand for diversity one love means everybody is a part of it and everybody should be free to be who they are. In our opinion [the right to be yourself] has been encroached upon. As players, we have a podium to do whatever we can to help.”

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