Football News

Walking off no answer to racism, says Wenger

Created on 15 Mar., 2013 5:39 PM GMT

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes players who are targeted with racial abuse should not walk off the pitch.

UEFA have once again been urged to take strong stance against racism in the wake of an incident involving Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor.

The Togolese striker was allegedly subjected to monkey chants during the club's Europa League last-16 showdown with Inter Milan at the San Siro on Thursday.

AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng was on the receiving end of similar taunts in an exhibition match against Italian fourth-tier team Pro Patria in January.

Boateng stormed off the pitch in protest but Wenger doesn't believe that is the answer.

"It looks to be a reoccurring problem in Italy when English teams play there and it is not acceptable," he said.

"I don't think that walking off the pitch is the right answer. You have to isolate people who do that and punish them.

"When a team is losing, any team can start racist chanting. You basically get them to master the situation - you ban them from football, or even ban the clubs if you can prove that they do not punish their fans. That is a better answer."

The Frenchman believes that attitudes have vastly improved since his playing days, but insists more must be done to eliminate racism.

"It has got better if I compare the time when I played and today they have made big improvements," said Wenger.

"But there is still some work to do and there is always the possibility of setbacks."

Wenger also played down talk of captain Thomas Vermaelen and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny leaving the club after both were noticeable absentees from their Champions League match against Bayern Munich midweek.

"They are two outstanding players that are part of our squad," he said. "They have played so many games until now that of course their position is very important in the squad.

"Thomas Vermaelen has played many games in many positions and is a very important player in our squad.

"They have known since the start of the season that there might be a rotation between the three centre-backs that play most of the games - that is Vermaelen, (Laurent) Koscielny and (Per) Mertesacker - and he played a big part in that.

He added: "Look, who gave Wojciech (Szczesny) a chance from nowhere - it was me, from the youth team and that means I rate him highly and have a lot of respect for what he has done.

"We all have ups and downs physically and mentally and he has played many games this season.

"Maybe I should have rested him a few times in the cup games that I didn't do for the first time this season. It's normal that you have ups and downs. He is a young goalkeeper."

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