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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 14:17 GMT
Players need protection - Taylor
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Gordon Taylor
PFA chief Gordon Taylor is concerned about abuse of players
Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has called for greater security to ensure players are protected from crowd abuse.

Portsmouth's Sol Campbell has told the BBC that the problem is out of control.

And Taylor says clubs should be doing more to target games with potential flashpoints.

"If there is clear knowledge of what may happen at a match, it is as well stewards and police are pre-warned," he told BBC Sport.

"Clubs need to be very mindful when they are counselling stewards before the game that there may be likely targets in the opposition team."

I have told my members not to take the law into their own hands

PFA chief executive
Gordon Taylor

Campbell told BBC Radio 4 he has received lots of abuse during his career while Chelsea's Ashley Cole was jeered by fans of his former club during Sunday's Premier League game at Arsenal.

Taylor added: "When a player is playing in front of his previous club's supporters and perhaps he has left that club with a bit of acrimony, you would expect a bit of good-humoured banter.

"But when it gets to the level where you wouldn't have to take it if you were walking down the street, then it becomes a concern.

"So long as it's good-natured banter, then fine, but if it is not then they need to keep a grip on it.

"This would be in the same way that clubs have been extremely helpful in combating what was a very bad aspect of football, namely racist abuse."

Taylor added: "Sometimes there is booing during a game, but it usually fades and then the players get on with it.

Ashley Cole
Chelsea's Ashley Cole was targeted by fans of former club Arsenal

"When it continues and it is abuse of a personal nature, that is when players deserve better protection and I believe most right-minded people would think the same.

"This is when it becomes a matter for the Football Association, the club concerned, the police and stewards.

"England should be proud of the way it has helped to control hooliganism and helped to diminish, if not defeat, racial abuse.

"There is closed-circuit television and monitoring of crowds is extremely effective. This is available at all big grounds.

606: DEBATE

"It is there for all to see and there is a proper network of stewards and police if needed.

"There is also a tannoy system and I think it is a responsibility of clubs to control their own supporters."

Taylor insisted players must not be tempted to react if they are subjected to abuse from opposition crowds.

"Two wrongs don't make a right," he said. "I have told my members not to take the law into their own hands and not respond because it just exacerbates the situation.

"The situation has to be left to clubs. There is no reason why clubs can't control it, but if they can't then it is up to the FA to step in and make sure they do."



SEE ALSO
Campbell calls for abuse to stop
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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