Nathan Blake: There could be a union for black players in bid to tackle racism

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Former Wales striker Nathan Blake has warned black players could form their own union over racism issues (Barrington Combs/PA) (PA Archive)
Former Wales striker Nathan Blake has warned black players could form their own union over racism issues (Barrington Combs/PA) (PA Archive)

Former Wales striker Nathan Blake has warned black footballers could form their own players’ union if governing bodies do not tackle the issue of racism.

Blake believes it is no longer enough for abused players to be told to “score a goal and shut them up” and says black footballers could end up boycotting European Championships and World Cups.

“As I get older my thinking has been more and more that one or two things are going to happen,” 49-year-old Blake told a BBC Radio Wales documentary.

Nathan Blake won 30 caps for Wales and made over 500 senior appearances in a 16-year professional career (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)
Nathan Blake won 30 caps for Wales and made over 500 senior appearances in a 16-year professional career (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

“There could be a union for black players and I think it’s going to get to a point where black players are going to say: ‘I don’t want to play in your World Cup, I don’t want to play in the European Championship’.

“You’re not contracted to play international football so my club is either going to have to support me or go against me.

“Now, if there’s seven or eight black players in the team and we’re all on the same page, that’s going to be a real powerful statement.”

Blake, who won 30 caps for Wales, said he encountered racism during a career which saw him make over 500 senior appearances at Cardiff, Sheffield United, Bolton, Blackburn Wolves Leicester, Leeds and Newport.

There could be a union for black players and I think it's going to get to a point where black players are going to say: 'I don't want to play in your World Cup, I don't want to play in the European Championship'

Nathan Blake

He said: “People still think it’s acceptable. I never understood how it came from your own team-mates and management structure.

“I always said if the coach said to all the players: ‘If you call him a name you’re out’, it stops.”

Robert Earnshaw, another former Wales striker, says he was the subject of monkey noises while playing international football abroad.

Robert Earnshaw said he was the subject of monkey chants while playing abroad for Wales (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)
Robert Earnshaw said he was the subject of monkey chants while playing abroad for Wales (David Davies/PA) (PA Archive)

Earnshaw said: “FIFA have got a poor way of handling racism, a poor way of acknowledging it even. It’s just tick a box, we’ve got to do something.

“Fine them £10,000, take them out of the stadium for one game and move on because we’ve got a business to run.

“But the players have a lot of power and more influence now, they’ve got more of a voice because of social media.

“Younger players are more aware of their platform and that’s great.”

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