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Brighton and Hove Albion’s Balogun calls for collective effort to fight racism

16:30 GMT+3 05/12/2019
Leon Balogun
The 31-year-old Nigeria international has highlighted ways to curb racial abuse in football, having experienced it first hand in Germany

Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Leon Balogun believed fighting racism requires collective responsibility.

The defender suffered racial abuse in 2018 during his time with German Bundesliga side Mainz 05, where he was subjected to monkey chants from Hannover fans.

The Nigeria international wants fans, coaches as well as players, who are not targeted to show their support.

"It's like they are afraid because the manager might say 'if you don't want to play, even though you might be an important player to us, we can replace you' and so that's something you will think about at least twice," Balogun told BBC Africa.

"That is what a team is supposed to be. We are a family. We are walking off [together], this would empower so many players who are racially abused because that way they then wouldn't feel alone."

Balogun also called on the authorities to instil stiffer punishments on those guilty of the offence in order to curb the ignoble act.

"You really take away what they love so much so that they understand we need to rethink here for a minute. So it will also affect people who are not involved in the racial abuse of the players,” he continued.

“People who just happen to be in the stadium and they will be like 'wait a minute', those ones, let's call them idiots are taking away what we love, what we are passionate about.

“At the point it's at right now, I think you have to be extreme, even banning a team or like deducting points. You need to shock people the same way racism shocks players.

"You probably have to go to a place they never expect, where you can actually hurt [punish] those involved in racist behaviour."