Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba hopes to combat the continued “ignorance” being shown at football grounds by rolling out a new anti-racism initiative.
Pogba asked his United team-mates to wear a black and white wristband featuring the words ‘No to racism’ and ‘We are one’ ahead of Thursday’s 4-1 win over Newcastle United.
Inspired by a similar campaign launched by compatriot Thierry Henry in 2005, Pogba acted himself rather than wait for football’s top governing bodies to step in.
“It was my idea to do that,” he said when asked about the wristbands. “I’ve been thinking about doing this but I don’t want to go through UEFA or FIFA. I did it myself.
“I think we have the chance to have this power to show things in football, on TV. People see it so I think that will make people understand some things.
“I think it is down to ignorance. Ignorance and stuff like that, and just to show people that you are all one. We are all one.
“I remember when I was younger about ‘Stand Up, Speak Up’. It just reminded me of that.”
Pogba was subjected to racist abuse earlier this season after missing a penalty in United’s 1-1 draw with Wolves – one of a number of high-profile incidents in recent months.
Jesse Lingard and Fred were also allegedly targeted during this month’s Manchester derby, while Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger had a similar experience against Tottenham last week.
“A lot of players in a lot of leagues – not only in the Premier League but in Italy, Spain, everywhere – [have been racially abused] and we keep hearing this,” Pogba said.
“I don’t want to be president, I don’t want to be a political guy. We are just football players, we want to enjoy that. The fans needs to enjoy coming and see some nice football and that’s it.
“This is to show that we’re against that. I don’t want to go and make interviews but I just know that it will make people talk. My team-mates, we did it. Fred, Andreas [Pereira], I mean everyone, we are against that.
“We are just for football, enjoying football. We do what we love. We give joy to the fans, to everyone, to all the spectators and that’s all we want to see in the stadium. We are hearing things every week.
“We keep seeing it again and again in a lot of stadiums. It’s just to show that, to give support to all the players – black or white or Chinese or whatever you are – and just to show respect to everyone.”
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