Home Sports Jude Bellingham wants ‘more extreme consequences’ for fans who racially abuse players

Jude Bellingham wants ‘more extreme consequences’ for fans who racially abuse players

Jude Bellingham celebrates alongside Real Madrid teammate Vinícius Júnior. (Photo: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) — Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham said players should have greater involvement in how decisions are made to tackle racism in soccer.

Speaking to CNN’s Amanda Davies after winning the Laureus World Sports Breakthrough of the Year award on Monday, the 20-year-old midfielder said he wanted to see tougher punishments for fans who direct racist abuse at players in the stadium.

Bellingham has used his platform to speak out on the matter throughout his short career, most recently calling for more support from soccer’s governing bodies after Madrid teammate Vinícius Júnior was the subject of yet more racist abuse.

“I do think there’s got to be more extreme consequences,” said Bellingham. “I think that’s the best way to try and stop people from doing it in the future,” he added.

“What would be interesting is having the players involved. The players are the ones who are having to experience it, not these people in charge of the game.

“So if they really want to know what they think is fair or if they are confused, there are players all over Spain and all over the world that they can speak to, and I’ll tell them to take advantage of that,” added Bellingham, who told CNN in 2022 that he questioned whether authorities cared about racist abuse directed at Black players.

‘It shouldn’t be happening’

Earlier this year, Brazilian superstar Vinícius Jr. broke down in tears in an emotional media conference while speaking about his experience with racist abuse while playing for Real Madrid in Spain.

The 23-year-old Brazilian has been subjected to racism from fans of opposing teams on multiple occasions, including an effigy of the Brazilian being hung from a bridge before his side’s clash against city rival Atlético Madrid in January 2023 and persistent racial abuse in a match against Valencia later that year.

Racist slurs have also been caught on camera during Madrid’s matches at Osasuna, Mallorca, Real Valladolid and Atlético.

“I just want to play football, but it’s hard to move forward … I feel less and less like playing,” an emotional Vinícius told reporters earlier this year.

Bellingham is aware it shouldn’t be up to players to solve the issues themselves, but he’s intent on raising awareness to pressure the game’s governing bodies to act.

“We can all say that we want to do things or say it should change, but I think we can all come together, regardless of what color you are, to help get rid of it because we’re all on the same team at the end of the day and we all think it’s disgusting,” said Bellingham.

“It shouldn’t be happening. So yeah, I look forward to seeing how the people in charge incorporate the players into the process of preventing it in the future.”

CNN has reached out to La Liga and the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for comment.

In 2023, La Liga told CNN Sport that it cannot impose punishments on clubs or fans itself. Instead, it must report incidents to RFEF committees or regional prosecutors who then deal with them as legal cases before sporting punishments are handed out.

World soccer’s governing body FIFA reiterated its stance on fighting racism to CNN Sport, and said the issue will be an agenda point at the FIFA Congress in May.

“The 74th FIFA Congress will mark a milestone in FIFA’s ongoing efforts to fight racism with new and stricter measures to be applied worldwide in cooperation with all our member associations and the confederations,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in a statement.

European soccer’s governing body UEFA told CNN Sport that it has continued to publicly denounce racism and has launched multiple campaigns to try tackle the issue.

Real Madrid superstar

Bellingham has flourished since joining Real Madrid from German side Borussia Dortmund at the start of the season, settling in much more quickly than many had expected.

The pressure of playing for arguably the most famous team in world soccer has seemingly motivated the youngster to elevate his game and he’s now considered one of the best players in the world.

“I would say that Madrid feels like home now. I feel like I have a familiar kind of connection with the fans and the people. So, yeah, really happy,” he said.

The midfielder recently scored the last-minute winner in Madrid’s controversial El Clásico victory on Sunday – the latest in a long-run of game-changing moments which has underpinned his time at the Spanish giant.

There is still a chance that Bellingham can win both the league title and Champions League trophy in his debut season at the club, testament to his impact on the side.

Away from his club, Bellingham will also be a pivotal figure for England at the upcoming European Championships later this year.

Gareth Southgate’s side is one of the favorites to lift the title, and Bellingham is determined to go one better than England did when finishing runners-up at Euro 2020.

“Very confident. You know, a lot of the lads are on top form and we have a lot of talent and a great mix of experience and youth,” he said.

“We’ve got to take the confidence from the last tournaments into this one and hopefully go one better.”

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