UEFA Euro 2020

Georginio Wijnaldum threatens walk off if racially abused at Puskas Arena

Ross Jackson
Georginio Wijnaldum has threatened to walk off the pitch if he hears racist chanting
Georginio Wijnaldum has threatened to walk off the pitch if he hears racist chanting / Soccrates Images/Getty Images
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Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted he could walk off the pitch if he or his Netherlands teammates are subjected to racial abuse during their Euro 2020 round of 16 clash with Czech Republic.

The two meet at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on Sunday, just days after local Hungarian fans unfurled a banner prior to France's game with Portugal demanding players stop taking the knee before games.

There has been condemnation of the actions of those supporters, with Wijnaldum now admitting that although taking the knee shouldn't necessarily be a choice the players have to make, he could leave the field if he and his Dutch teammates are abused and they decide it's the right course of action.

"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."

Georginio Wijnaldum has been speaking before his side's clash with the Czech Republic
Georginio Wijnaldum has been speaking before his side's clash with the Czech Republic / Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Wijnaldum also revealed that he will wear the rainbow coloured captain's armband in a bid to promote equality in the game and society, despite seeing Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer investigated by UEFA for promoting Gay Pride Month. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.

"It is not 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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France supporters at the Puskas Arena / BERNADETT SZABO/Getty Images

The topic of discrimination in Hungary has dominated recent headlines after their parliament passed legislation that forbids schools or TV shows from showing educational material to people aged 18 or under that may promote homosexuality or gender change.

Images circulated on social media also showed banners at the Puskas Arena ahead of France's clash with Portugal which displayed the message "Anti-LMBTQ" - Hungary's abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

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