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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 15:37 GMT 16:37 UK
FA acts on Beckham abuse
david beckham
Defiance: David Beckham reacts to fans' abuse
The Football Association is to raise concerns about player security at Euro 2000 following the incident in which David Beckham was abused by spectators.

Beckham was pictured giving a one-finger salute to England fans who hurled obscene taunts at him as he walked off the pitch after the 3-2 defeat by Portugal.

The Manchester United midfielder, who set up both of England's goals, has received support from his coach, the National Federation of Football Supporters' Clubs and Rogan Taylor, the head of the football research unit at Liverpool University.

FA executive director David Davies said: "Our security people are well aware of what went on, and we will be talking to Uefa about it.

There is an issue, we believe, with regard to the perspex tunnel

FA boss David Davies
"There is an issue, we believe, with regard to the perspex tunnel.

"I believe that tunnels which are not see-through in this way would be better and the FA chairman, Geoff Thompson, will be raising that with the stadium and security representatives of Uefa."


The vicious abuse aimed at Beckham is reported to have included insults about his wife and son.

England Coach Kevin Keegan said: "If you had been in the tunnel and heard what I heard... I just couldn't believe it. I was ashamed."

Kevin Keegan
Keegan: ashamed
Keegan was at pains, however, to make it clear that the trouble had only come from "eight to 10" apparently drunk fans.

Ian Todd, chairman of the National Federation of Football Supporters' Clubs said that there was no excuse for the taunting.

"It seemingly went beyond the sort of personal abuse players get on a regular basis. When it gets to the stage that your family is abused that is completely out of order."

"I don't understand the minds of people who do such things." In attempting to explain the taunts Todd said: "I suppose it starts with people being anti the team he plays for and because he's the main personality there, they turn on him."

Rogan Taylor blamed the abuse on envy. "Beckham gives everything for his country, he's an outstanding player. When you see envy in operation like this you realise just why it's a sin. It's what caused the hatred and it's very much a sin."

Meanwhile, MPs are divided over Beckham's gesture of defiance.

Tory shadow attorney general Edward Garnier branded the Manchester United star's action "unacceptable", no matter how much he was provoked by spectators' taunts.

Bad example

The MP for Harborough, said: "It sets a bad example to younger footballers and lowers the standards of footballing behaviour at all levels."

But others backed Beckham, with Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester, saying that while the player's gesture was "regrettable", drunken fans were to blame for provoking him.

Joe Ashton, the Labour chairman of the Commons All-Party Group on Football, said: "Obviously if a footballer's tired and disappointed, he is human like anybody else.

"If moronic so-called supporters start swearing and abusing him, it is understandable that there's a reaction."

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See also:

13 Jun 00 | England
Beckham escapes Uefa ban
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