Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier says he is prepared to lead his players off the pitch if they are subjected to racial abuse in Moscow tonight.
Liverpool travel to Russia to face Spartak Moscow in a Champions League Group B match, aware that there is the prospect of a repeat of the racist chanting which has haunted the club’s strIker Emile Heskey in recent weeks.
Heskey was racially abused when LLiverpool travelled to Valencia recently and again while playing for Englandin Slovakia last weekend.
In anticipation of further abuse tonught, Houllier has threatened to lead his players off the pitch.
‘If it goes too far, I will do something about it that surprises people. I am not going to tell you what, but I will take action.”
‘You simply cannot ignore what is going on, and I will not. Not when I think of what happened to Emile Heskey a few years ago when he played for England Under-21s against Yugoslavia.
‘The abuse then did not come from the fans, it came from the players he was up against. That shows how deep-rooted the problem is. It is creeping into the game again, and we must eradicate it now before it gets any worse.
‘I am pleased that UEFA are starting to react, but we have got to go even further and stamp it out once and for all.
‘How about banning clubs if they have persistent offenders? Just imagine the reaction if a club were excluded from a tournament for a year.’
UEFA have pledged to take action following the recent outbreak ofracist chanting throughout Europe.