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'It happens in England every week' - Barnes hits out at hypocritical condemnation of racist Montenegro fans

17:33 GMT 26/03/2019
John Barnes 13112013
The former Liverpool winger insists more needs to be done in society if racism is to be eradicated from football

John Barnes insists the issue of racism needs to be dealt with in England and not just when the national team are subjected to abuse in foreign countries.

England cruised to a 5-1 victory over Montenegro on Monday night, but the fixture was marred by alleged racist abuse from the home fans.

UEFA charged Montenegro with racist behaviour following the clash in Podgorica which saw many of England's players abused.

Callum Hudson-Odoi revealed he heard "monkey stuff" during the match while manager Gareth Southgate also claimed he heard chants directed towards the likes of Danny Rose.

While Montenegro have been condemned for their alleged chants, Barnes believes the issue is a widespread problem that stretches into society in England.

"It does not feel any different to how it felt when Raheem Sterling was racially abused by Chelsea fans,” Barnes told Sky Sports.

"Up and down the country every single week at football matches you have black football players being racially abused so why is this any different?

"I think that it is quite hypocritical that we want to talk about Montenegro and say how terrible it is when we have not taken care of the problem here.

"We go to Montenegro once every six months, whereby every week we face it here in droves. So what is more serious? Going to Montenegro once a year or black people facing this every single day of their lives?

"Because it is high profile, we say, 'let's do something about it', but we are really not tackling the issue here."

When quizzed over what could be the solution to prevent racism in the UK, Barnes responded: "The solution is to tackle it in society and once we do that it will disappear from all walks of society of which football is one.

"We have to decide whether we want to get rid of it, or if we don't want to hear it. All we are doing by passing laws is saying, 'you can be as racist as you want, but not in a football ground'.

"Instead of passing laws why don't we try and educate people why they feel the need to be racially abusing people and then we can actually deconstruct the whole idea of why they feel that way rather than just banning and passing laws.”

England’s next fixture is against the Netherlands in a Nations League semi-final clash on June 6 in Portugal.