Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba produced and gave away anti-racism wristbands to fans at Old Trafford on Friday.
Pogba says the wristbands, which read “No to racism” and “We are one,” are his way of speaking to fans without going through what he calls “political” channels.
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The Frenchman, 26, had posted an emotional message in August after fans abused him on social media following a missed penalty kick.
He returned to the Red Devils lineup last weekend and has made two substitute appearances as he works his way to full fitness.
Pogba says he wants the stadium to be a place devoid of hate and dedicated to football. He’d prefer he didn’t have to stand up and speak out, but this is a time fo that.
“I don’t want to do president, I don’t want to do a politic guy. We are just football players. We want to enjoy that. The fans needs to enjoy coming and seeing some nice football and that’s it. So, this is to show that we’re against (racism).
He also said that he didn’t want to go through UEFA or FIFA channels to spread his message, and knew the wristbands would be a quick, unofficial way to make a personal connection on the matter.
“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’s ignorance. Ignorance and stuff like that, and just to show people that you are all one. We are all one.”
Football has seen a wide variety of racial abuse incidents this season:
- A Burnley fan was investigated for alleged abuse of Spurs’ Heung-min Son.
- Brescia’s Mario Balotelli has suffered abuse multiple times.
- A Man City fan was caught abusing Manchester United mid Fred.
- Paul Pogba was abused by his own club’s fans after missing a penalty kick.
- Lazio fans chanted racial abuse at Chelsea loanee Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Cheers to you, Paul.