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‘People are not sure about speaking up about racism because of the abuse’

Ireland international reveals in interview with Daily Mail that authorities are not doing enough to tackle the issue.

Christie wants the authorities to do more to tackle the problem.
Christie wants the authorities to do more to tackle the problem.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

CYRUS CHRISTIE HAS outlined the lack of support he has received from football’s top brass to tackle the racism issue.

The Ireland full-back was targeted by racists after the Ireland-Denmark match in 2017, when Christian Eriksen scored a hat-trick as the Danes won 5-1 to qualify for the World Cup.

He outlines how he spoke to Gardai about it: “They seemed like they would be great and gave me a number to call if I needed them,” Christie said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“A while later I called it and it didn’t even work. We never heard from them again. It’s then that you realise there really is no point.

“I have sat down many times and decided not to pursue something because nothing ever gets done

“When you are being sent an image of four black people hanging from a tree – representing my family – and nothing gets done, how do you feel?

“Or when there is a petition calling for you to be lynched, how do you feel?

“If it was the other way round, we know how quick it would be sorted. That’s the issue.”

Rather than shy away from speaking about it, Christie has decided to make a stand, a move that has resulted in further grief.

“People are not sure about speaking up about racism because of the abuse that follows,”  he said.

“But I won’t be like that. If you speak out you are branded a liar. They say you are soft, rising to the bait.

“But I sat down with athletes at a Nike thing and listened to people’s stories. It is everywhere. A young girl, a footballer from Tottenham, said she had been racially abused.

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“But these athletes think they don’t have a big enough voice to speak out. So they don’t.

“It always takes the bigger voice to kick start something doesn’t it? There is always more discrimination in the lower leagues but our voice isn’t as big as Raheem Sterling’s or Gary Neville’s.

“Neville did a thing on racism on Sky and suddenly people think: ‘It must be true then’.

“I have experienced many cases but you don’t hear from the English FA or anyone. I think they know they should be doing a lot more.”

About the author:

Garry Doyle

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