Former France international and World Cup winner Lilian Thuram has urged Premier League players to become more active in stopping racism from being played on the field.
The World Cup winner for France in 1998 will also be the mascot for Tottenham’s friendly against Haiti on Friday at Craven Cottage and explained why he believes the game has been slow to tackle the issue.
“To us it is amazing that people can behave in a racist and anti-Semitic way. It is not our fault, it is not a reflection of society as a whole, it is a minority, because society has come a long way but the stadiums are not doing enough to make these people realise they are not welcome,” Thuram said.
“It is up to the players and the management to make sure they stop (racist chants). In the past you could not say boo but now if it is a corner throw and everyone is giving no signal and the ball is coming in, I’m saying we are not seeing any one giving a signal to say, ‘Leave the pitch, we are not going to allow this.’ The players should be able to make a loud noise and make the fans understand we are not going to let this happen again.
“They have to come up with an idea on how to deal with it and I think this must be done by the next World Cup, not by after 2022.”
The Premier League is hoping a meeting with UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin in Amsterdam on Wednesday will help it tackle the issue.
The Football Association was criticised recently after it failed to instigate a supporter investigation after a Henry Sark, one of those chanting anti-Semitic and racist abuse at Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, was reported.
Thuram added: “The Pro League, with the Premier League, must tackle this problem. It is not just the minority, it is not individuals, it is an organised problem, we have to stop this.
“I know you can’t police what goes on on the terraces but you can have a stop-stop system. Something must be said as to how to stop this when it’s going on in the stadiums. I ask the league and the management to do more.”
The 44-year-old will be presented as the new Wembley mascot for the London club’s match against Haiti and he told Sky Sports News: “I am a Chelsea fan, I always have been, but if my manager doesn’t know me, it makes no difference, I’ll always play with the national team – and in every game I’m sure I’ll do something that catches their attention. I’ll say something.”