Andrew Cole has called for heavier sanctions such as stadium closures after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro was marred by racist chanting.

Danny Rose and Callum Hudson-Odoi were subjected to monkey chants in the first half in Podgorica on Monday.

And Raheem Sterling, who was also subjected to racist chants, reacted to scoring England’s fifth goal in a 5-1 win by pulling his ears in front of home fans as a sign of defiance to what he later called racists on social media.

Andrew Cole has called for stiffer punishments to help stamp out racist chanting at games
Andrew Cole has called for stiffer punishments to help stamp out racist chanting at games (Niall Carson/PA)

Rose was abused again towards the end of the match, while UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against the hosts, which includes a charge of racist behaviour.

And former Manchester United and England striker Cole believes the time is long overdue for tougher punishments.

“What’s changed? It’s the same old scenario,” he said.

“They will get a fine of 5,000 or 10,000 euros, or close a part of the stadium and say ‘naughty boys, don’t do that again’, then a couple of weeks after, they do it again.


“There have got to be heavier sanctions, and the England players have come out and said that.

“We are getting to a stage now where we have to address the problem properly, otherwise, we will never eradicate it.

“They should close the stadiums and make them play behind closed doors, because otherwise how many more times are we going to see this?

“Points deductions are a great possibility, but I am not being disrespectful to Montenegro, but what are their chances of qualifying?

“If you deduct points, would they qualify anyway? It’s neither here nor there. Whatever sanctions they come up with, they need to enforce them.”

Cole has backed a call from John Barnes that society needs to address the wider issue of racism
Cole has backed a call from John Barnes that society needs to address the wider issue of racism (Peter Byrne/PA)

Cole admitted he was subjected to abuse “a long time ago”, and he added: “I was listening to John Barnes yesterday. We have to get our own house in order here before we start condemning other people for doing what is happening here as well.

“Once we address those problems, hopefully, we can move forward, but we’ve been saying that for many years now. People talk about it dying down, but it never dies until you address the problem.

“Black players go through it so often. We talk about walking off the pitch – I know how I would react – but Raheem has been brilliant.

“Since it happened to him at Chelsea, the way he has conducted himself has been incredible. It has gone full circle, and now he’s England’s golden boy.

“He has spoken out about it, he has conducted himself in the right manner and he is playing football to the best of his ability. I love his attitude and what he is doing for the game.”

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