Sol Campbell says verbal abuse towards footballers and managers has spiralled out of control and it is time for the authorities to start taking action. Following recent complaints from Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and Avram Grant over crowd behaviour, he rang BBC Radio 4 off his own back saying “It’s out of hand now, we can all take the booing or light banter, but when it gets to the realms of verbal abuse it’s a bridge too far.”
I am really impressed with his guts to get on and say something. I think the use of language in some of the stadiums has been poor. There should be more to stop it, there seems to be a very fine line between banter and abuse, but in football stadiums we spend too much time over the line. I hope that the FA follow up on his comments, and don’t just sit there trying to defend themselves. Here are some more of Sol’s comments:
“I may be immune to this but I’m playing football and should not be subjected to that type of abuse … I am an international player who has given his whole career to club and country. I think I deserve more than this … I know some people may be a little bit disgruntled at how I left certain clubs. I totally understand that … But when you get to the level of personal abuse that I and other players are subjected to, it’s got to stop now.”
And Campbell thinks verbal abuse is as bad as racist chanting.
“There is no difference for me,” said the 33-year-old centre-half. “It’s harmful. They are trying to belittle you and it is downright out of order … This is a human rights situation where professional sportsmen – managers as well – want to do their job professionally and people are abusing them verbally … If this happened on the street you’d be arrested. The FA, the PFA (Professional Footballers’ Association) and even the government should get involved.”