It’s all very well talking a good game, but when push comes to shove, sometimes actions speak louder than words.
The seriousness of footballers being racially abused is still very much a hot potato topic, but short of a few strongly-worded press releases and interviews, not too many managers have had the gumption to take their players from the field of play when hearing monkey noises or similar erupt from the terraces.
Gareth Southgate’s England play against Hungary on Thursday, with the hosts already having to play three of their UEFA games behind closed doors because of a racist transgression by their fans.
Being a World Cup qualifier, Thursday’s game falls under FIFA jurisdiction, so the game will go ahead at the Puskas Arena in front of a full house.
That has sparked concern, and with the likes of Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling all victims of recent, vile racist chanting and messaging, Southgate really needs to send a real message to the governing body if it happens again.
However, he isn’t sure that he’ll yet do so.
“I don’t think we should speak hypothetically,” he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports.
“We know the experience we had before [in Bulgaria] but we’re going into Hungary preparing for a game against a crowd that will get behind their team.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of the match and everything else is speculation really.”
It is the perfect opportunity to say ‘enough is enough,’ rather than just paying lip service to efforts to kick racism out of football.
It does set a precedent which will hit hard at the heart of the game, but if national organisations are going to try and eradicate this stain on the beautiful game, then a movement has to begin somewhere.