Trent Alexander-Arnold has explained that England will make “a team decision” over whether to walk off the pitch if they suffer racist abuse in their next games.
The Three Lions take on the Czech Republic (Oct 11) and Bulgaria (Oct 14) in their Euro 2020 qualifiers this month, the latter in a partially closed stadium.
Stadion Vasil Levski will be 5,000 seats short for the visit of Gareth Southgate’s side after Bulgarian fans were found guilty of racism in clashes with Kosovo and the Czech Republic in June.
England players have experienced racist abuse in recent outings, with Danny Rose among those subject to chants in the 5-1 win over Montenegro in March, with incidents appearing to grow more frequent.
UEFA protocol follows a three-step process that ends with the officials abandoning the game if repeated announcements to quell abuse are ignored.
But speaking in a press conference ahead of the pair of games, Alexander-Arnold followed team-mate Tammy Abraham in explaining that, after a meeting with the squad, England could take that decision over the referee’s head.
“It’s a team decision, a decision that all of us needs to make,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s one player that’s being abused or the whole team, we’re all one big group and the decision will be made with everything.
“If the team doesn’t feel comfortable playing then I’m sure that we have the backing and the support of everyone around us that that’s the right decision that needs to be made.
“No one should be made to feel uncomfortable on the football pitch, everyone should be given the chance to play in a fair environment.
“If that’s not a fair environment, then I think we’ll make a decision on the day.”
He, of course, added that “hopefully that doesn’t happen,” with this a caveat employed by Joe Gomez as he also discussed the situation, though the centre-back believes racists “might think they have won” if England walk off.
Alexander-Arnold described this approach as being used in “extreme” cases, with England still willing to follow UEFA protocol for smaller incidents.
“If there’s any abuse, it depends on what level it is,” he continued.
“If it’s quite a small level and not the full stadium, then I think whichever player is aimed at will obviously report it to the officials or the team captain, who will then report it to the officials.
“Then the officials will speak within each other and decide whether the teams need to come off or not.”