Pogba hopes to combat racial 'ignorance' with new wristband initiative

By Sports Desk December 27, 2019

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba hopes to combat the continued "ignorance" being shown at football grounds by rolling out a new anti-racism initiative.

Pogba asked his United team-mates to wear a black and white wristband featuring the words 'No to racism' and 'We are one' ahead of Thursday's 4-1 win over Newcastle United.

Inspired by a similar campaign launched by compatriot Thierry Henry in 2005, Pogba acted himself rather than wait for football's top governing bodies to step in.

"It was my idea to do that," he said when asked about the wristbands. "I've been thinking about doing this but I don't want to go through UEFA or FIFA. I did it myself.

"I think we have the chance to have this power to show things in football, on TV. People see it so I think that will make people understand some things.

"I think it is down to ignorance. Ignorance and stuff like that, and just to show people that you are all one. We are all one.

"I remember when I was younger about 'Stand Up, Speak Up'. It just reminded me of that."

Pogba was subjected to racist abuse earlier this season after missing a penalty in United's 1-1 draw with Wolves - one of a number of high-profile incidents in recent months.

Jesse Lingard and Fred were also allegedly targeted during this month's Manchester derby, while Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger had a similar experience against Tottenham last week.

"A lot of players in a lot of leagues - not only in the Premier League but in Italy, Spain, everywhere - [have been racially abused] and we keep hearing this," Pogba said. 

"I don't want to be president, I don't want to be a political guy. We are just football players, we want to enjoy that. The fans needs to enjoy coming and see some nice football and that's it.

"This is to show that we're against that. I don't want to go and make interviews but I just know that it will make people talk. My team-mates, we did it. Fred, Andreas [Pereira], I mean everyone, we are against that.

"We are just for football, enjoying football. We do what we love. We give joy to the fans, to everyone, to all the spectators and that's all we want to see in the stadium. We are hearing things every week.

"We keep seeing it again and again in a lot of stadiums. It's just to show that, to give support to all the players - black or white or Chinese or whatever you are - and just to show respect to everyone."

Related items

  • Ndidi to miss Leicester City clash with Man City Ndidi to miss Leicester City clash with Man City

    Wilfred Ndidi has been ruled out of Leicester City's Premier League clash with Manchester City on Saturday.

    The midfielder has missed his side's past two games - draws with Chelsea and Wolves - due to a knee problem.

    Manager Brendan Rodgers says he will not rush Ndidi back to face the champions and risk any setbacks in his recovery.

    "Wilf won't be available for the weekend," Rodgers told reporters on Thursday. "He's still in a process to try and get fit, so we'll see how he is next week. I'm not sure.

    "He's doing work inside, but you then have to progress that to outside and then when he can join the team. It's another intensity to join the team and then to play.

    "We just want to make sure he's right because he's such an important player for us. It's about the long term, too. There's no timeline on it. We'll see how he progresses."

    Ndidi's absence presents Rodgers with a problem in midfield, with Hamza Choudhury suspended for the game against Pep Guardiola's side and Nampalys Mendy also out with a knee injury.

    "They're three excellent players and obviously we have to find a strategy and a plan to come up with a game that can see us try and get three points," he said.

    "Wilf has obviously played more, but all three give you that defensive solidity, which is important for any team. They're not available, so we can't worry about that."

    Rodgers went on to distance Leicester from an approach for Adam Lallana, who is expected to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

    "I've seen a lot of stuff around Adam and that we've approached Liverpool, which isn't the case," said Rodgers, who signed the player for Liverpool from Southampton in 2014.

    "He's at the stage of his contract where he will have options."

    Leicester, who are third, go into the game four points behind Manchester City in the table, having only won three of their past 10 league games.

  • BREAKING NEWS: Barcelona complete controversial Braithwaite signing BREAKING NEWS: Barcelona complete controversial Braithwaite signing

    Barcelona have completed the controversial signing of Martin Braithwaite from Leganes after the club were granted special dispensation to complete the deal outside of the transfer window.

    LaLiga's champions were given permission to sign a forward after injuries to Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele left them short of striking options.

    Barca on Thursday confirmed they have met an €18million release clause to bring in the 28-year-old until June 2024, with a buyout clause set at €300million.

    Braithwaite has scored six goals in 24 LaLiga appearances for relegation-threatened Leganes this season.

  • Alderweireld urges Spurs to draw inspiration from Ajax heroics in Leipzig tie Alderweireld urges Spurs to draw inspiration from Ajax heroics in Leipzig tie

    Toby Alderweireld called on Tottenham to draw inspiration from their Ajax heroics in a bid to turn around their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig.

    A depleted Spurs succumbed to a 1-0 home defeat in Wednesday's first leg, with Timo Werner's second-half penalty earning Leipzig a deserved lead to protect.

    It leaves Tottenham facing an uphill task to make the quarter-finals, but they have recent history of turning around Champions League ties having knocked out Ajax in the last four of the 2018-19 competition when trailing 3-0 on aggregate before mounting a late revival.

    Spurs also beat Borussia Dortmund and scored three times at Manchester City in the knockout stages of their run to the final and centre-back Alderweireld insists all is not lost.

    "We are still in it. Of course we wanted a better result, but we know we have the quality to win everywhere we want," he said.

    "Something we proved last season is that we can score everywhere. Of course we will need a little bit of luck, but it is the first half. The second half is yet to come.

    "I think it was a difficult game. You can see they have a lot of quality. We stayed in the game and I think the second half was much better than the first.

    "We were unfortunate that we could not score a goal. It is all to play for."

    Jose Mourinho's side were hindered by the loss of Son Heung-min, who has joined Harry Kane on Spurs' injury list.

    Lucas Moura and Dele Alli led the line in their absence, but Alderweireld says the team must take collective responsibility to deal with the loss of their two key attackers.

    "People have to take responsibility about that. I think we have to solve this as a team," he added.

    "I think people have to step up - not one [person]. One game it will be one guy and in the other game it will be someone else.

    "We don't have to stare blind at this result. I think we created a couple of chances against a very good opponent."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.