England rugby player Maro Itoje says racism requires stronger response from football authorities
"It is going to need a lot of re-educating, probably some harsher punishments as well," England forward tells Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 16/10/19 10:53am
England rugby forward Maro Itoje believes football's governing bodies need to take the issue of racism more seriously.
The Saracens man, who is part of England's Rugby World Cup squad in Japan, thinks the problem is 'endemic' and that there is a lot of work to be done if it is to be wiped out.
Itoje was speaking after the England football team's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win in Bulgaria on Monday was overshadowed by racist abuse aimed at England players by spectators - which led to the match twice being halted in the first half.
Ahead of England's World Cup quarter-final against Australia on Saturday, Itoje told Sky Sports News that he was very concerned by the situation.
"It is quite disgraceful, to be honest," he said.
"For players who are going out there representing England, for them to have to witness that kind of abuse and discrimination, is just unacceptable.
"I think more needs to be done, to curb that kind of behaviour,
"The punishment needs to be more severe, I think the governing bodies need to take this issue seriously.
"I read something the other day, where a Bulgarian journalist started arguing with (England manager) Gareth Southgate about whether the players received any discrimination or not - I think that shows how endemic the problem is.
"It is a big issue. It is going to need a lot of re-educating, probably some harsher punishments as well."