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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 11:52 GMT
Campbell calls for abuse to stop
Campbell was targeted by Spurs fans after his move to rivals Arsenal
Campbell was targeted by Spurs fans after his move to rivals Arsenal
Sol Campbell says verbal abuse towards footballers and managers has spiralled out of control and it is time for the authorities to start taking action.

Campbell says he has come under fire himself while Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp and Avram Grant have all complained about crowd behaviour.

"It's out of hand now," the Portsmouth and England defender told BBC Radio 4.

"We can all take the booing or light banter, but when it gets to the realms of verbal abuse it's a bridge too far."

Campbell felt so strongly about the situation that he rang the BBC to raise the issue himself.

"You get to the stage when people say you've got to be immune to this," he added.

"I may be immune to this but I'm playing football and should not be subjected to that type of abuse.

606: DEBATE

"I am an international player who has given his whole career to club and country. I think I deserve more than this.

"I know some people may be a little bit disgruntled at how I left certain clubs. I totally understand that.

"But when you get to the level of personal abuse that I and other players are subjected to, it's got to stop now."

And Campbell thinks verbal abuse is as bad as racist chanting.

"There is no difference for me," said the 33-year-old centre-half. "It's harmful. They are trying to belittle you and it is downright out of order."

I think the FA have let down a few players up and down the league

Sol Campbell

Campbell says not enough has been done to stamp the problem out.

"I think the FA has let down a few players up and down the league," he said.

The former Tottenham and Arsenal player even accused the game's governing body in England of sitting idle and brushing the problem under the carpet.

"This is the 21st century," he said.

"This is a human rights situation where professional sportsmen - managers as well - want to do their job professionally and people are abusing them verbally.

"If this happened on the street you'd be arrested. The FA, the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) and even the government should get involved."

Campbell, who says clubs could be fined if they fail to control their fans, plans to meet the FA to air his concerns.

But in response to his claims, the FA issued a statement suggesting it was already working hard to stamp out abusive behaviour by fans.

The FA insists it is actively working to prevent abuse from supporters in the stands.

"There is legislation in place to deal with abusive, threatening and racist behaviour by ejecting and arresting offending individuals. Put simply, it is against the law," said an FA spokesman.

This is not a direct issue for the FA but we do a lot of work to prevent crowd abuse - constantly working with the Home Office, police and clubs

FA spokesman

"The FA lobbied hard for such tough policies. It is for individual clubs - working with the police if necessary - to enforce these laws.

"At Wembley games, which the FA are responsible for, people have been ejected and arrested for this type of behaviour.

"The FA supports football banning orders against anyone arrested for violent or racist behaviour and there were 3,500 in place ahead of last year's World Cup.

"This is not a direct issue for the FA but we do a lot of work to prevent crowd abuse - constantly working with the Home Office, police and clubs."

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor sympathised with Campbell.

He told BBC Sport: "Sol has been subjected to quite a bit of abuse of various natures in his time and he is entitled to ask for help and support. I hope that will come, not only from his club but the FA as well."

Chelsea boss Grant also believes players receive too much abuse from spectators.

"From a sporting perspective I don't like it," said Grant after defender Ashley Cole was verbally abused by Arsenal fans during Sunday's game against his old club.

"Football is not an opera or a concert, but this is not the first time they did it and I have a feeling it won't be the last.

"I don't like it. I never did it even when I was a supporter, but it's part of football."



SEE ALSO
Players need protection - Taylor
19 Dec 07 |  Football
Redknapp anger at crowd 'abuse'
08 Dec 07 |  Premier League
Man Utd probing Arsenal 'abuse'
06 Nov 07 |  Man Utd


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