Hart: Authorities must lead on racism

07 June 2012 02:47

Goalkeeper Joe Hart said England's response would be led by the match referee and UEFA if any players suffer racial abuse during their Euro 2012 campaign.

Players were warned this week they will be booked if they walk off the pitch after experiencing racism during the tournament. UEFA president Michel Platini confirmed the rule preventing players from leaving the field without the referee's permission would stand - even if they are the victims of abuse from the stands in Poland and Ukraine.

Hart said: "Our advice is to get on with it and see how the referee and UEFA deal with it. It's not for us to do. Hopefully the referee and UEFA will take it into their own hands if that problem does occur."

He went on: "Fingers crossed we won't have to deal with anything like that. It's down to the referee. We can't take rules into our own hands. If the referee feels it's right for us to walk off then we'll follow him."

Hart, who starts the tournament as England's established first-choice goalkeeper, was quick to play down suggestions that expectations of the team should be low.

A rash of injuries to key men including Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry and Gary Cahill have hampered the build-up for manager Roy Hodgson, who only came into the job last month, following Fabio Capello's departure in February.

While hopes at home may be as low as they have been for many years, certainly within the England camp that is not the case, with a team containing several high achievers at club level determined to produce a strong campaign.

Hart said at England's press conference: "We're all hungry guys. We're all successful at football, and that's what we want, we want success.

"We don't want to go there thinking people won't mind if we lose, we can go home, we can go on holiday and no-one will care. We have high expectations otherwise there's no point us being here.

"We've come to win, we've come to do well, we've come to represent our country, and we want to make people proud."

Source: PA