Players’ union wanted England to walk off18 November 2004

Gordon Taylor, chief of the UK players’ union (PFA), has said that England should have pulled its players off the pitch after the racist abuse during their game with Spain. Jermaine Jenas, Ashley Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips faced a barrage of racist abuse from the Spanish fans throughout the game.

Players union chief Gordon Taylor says England should have walked off in the game with Spain after racist abuse from home fans towards their black players.
The Football Association is to complain over the incidents but Taylor says it should have acted at the time.

Taylor told the BBC,
“My members were being humiliated. The message should have come from the FA directors to say we will take responsibility and take them off. We have to say 'enough is enough' and set an example. It's about human dignity.”

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said that leaving the pitch was not the answer,
“We would not condone such behaviour for the very simple reason it could lead to all sorts of abuse. I don't think we should advise this kind of behaviour for merely technical reasons, because we would have hundreds of cases in which players could walk off the pitch and say 'I heard someone shouting something'. I don't think this is the right attitude.”

Because the match was a friendly, it was under FIFA authority rather than UEFA. The English FA are writing to FIFA over the issue. As UEFA is responsible for the leading the campaign against racism in European football, the English FA are also writing to them

UEFA has a range of options available to sanction clubs and national associations whose fans exhibit racist abuse. Previously UEFA has issued fines and instructed some games to be played behind closed doors as punishments.