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Tuesday, 15 October, 2002, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Regis urges racism fight


Cyrille Regis
Regis received a bullet through the post

Cyrille Regis has called for players not to boycott matches if they are racially abused.

Former England striker Regis, who suffered from racism as a player, told BBC Sport Online that a boycott was not the way forward.

Regis also wants football's authorities to take tougher action against the problem and learn from the way English football has combated racism.

"I wouldn't let any racist bigotry stop me from playing football at all," said Regis.

"If you start backing down to threats then you are on a big loser. You just have to push through those barriers and taunts and reach your goals."


We used to get 5-10,000 fans singing racist abuse, monkey calls and throwing bananas
Cyrille Regis

Regis was one of the pioneering black players in English football along with the likes of Laurie Cunningham, Brendan Batson, Viv Anderson, Luther Blissett and George Berry.

He added: "We went out there and focused on what we had to focus on - that was to go out there work harder and win the game. That's one's answer to the racist chanting.

"That's how you defeat the whole situation. You turn that negative aggression against you and use it positively in your performance, And he (Emile Heskey) did exactly what we did in the 70s and 80s."

Regis says the problem is now "miniscule" in England and other countries must learn from the way the problem has been tackled.

He said: "Once again you have to go back to the drawing board as well as an educational programme with fines and the like the way forward.


Racism has decimated in this country
Cyrille Regis

"I actually received a bullet through the post on my first England call-up.

"In fact, in the early 1970s and 80s we used to get 5-10,000 fans singing racist abuse, monkey calls and throwing bananas.

"At the time it was new and nobody really knew how to handle it.

"But we have had 25 years to look at the situation.

"We have had initiatives like Kick Racism out of Football and clubs assuring us that they will throw any racist chanting people out of the ground. It has decimated in this country."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Former England striker Cyrille Regis
"There needs to be stronger sanctions"
BBC Newsnight's Robin Denselow
"Racism in football is back on the agenda"

Judgement day

Slovakia madness

Football's ugly face
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