‘Maybe we are alone’: Jude Bellingham questions whether authorities ‘care’ about racist abuse directed at Black footballers
The England and Wales Cricket Board have responded to a letter from former England cricketer Jude Bellingham, who asked the ECB to look more closely at racism in the sport and to take seriously calls to eradicate it from the game.
In a letter published by the Sun, Bellingham said a player at Liverpool’s Anfield club was targeted by a supporter who was told to stay away by members of Liverpool’s terrace after the supporter took a photograph of him. Bellingham, who was also a professional player, said he understood the situation had been handled with “pluck”.
Bellingham is the son of former England cricketer Derek Bellingham. According to the Sun, Bellingham has written to the England and Wales Cricket Board asking it to take action over the incident.
Bellingham was speaking at the launch of The National Anti-racism Conference on Wednesday, which is co-hosted by Leeds United and the Institute for Leadership and Anti-racism.
Former England cricketer and Leeds United chairman Steve Gibson and the Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa are co-chairs of the conference.
“It’s not just a problem in England – it’s a problem in many other countries,” Gibson told BBC Sport.
“The fact that it happens in sport is a cause for serious concern. It has to be addressed.
“I know many other people have written letters and spoken to the ECB, so hopefully the ECB will look at this more seriously than they have done and act on it as appropriate.”
Bielsa said he had been in touch with the ECB, who was aware of the concerns and the issue was “being thoroughly looked at”. He added: “I think it’s a worrying situation. The last seven years have been a great period to watch football and it has also been a difficult period, but I think today we can look back and say that we have made some strides.”
The anti-racism conference has been organised by Leeds United and the Institute for Leadership and Anti-racism, which is based at De Montfort University in Leicester. The conference has attracted more than 3,000 participants.
In his interview with BBC Sport, Gibson highlighted the racial tension in English football, something he feels is often misunderstood by supporters who think racism is “inherent” to the game