Portsmouth's Campbell: Fans abuse must stop

Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell is concerned that the verbal abuse of players and managers is getting out of control - and he has urged the authorities to start taking action against offenders

Vilification of footballers and managers by fans is a cancer in the game that Portsmouth and England defender Sol Campbell says must now be addressed.

Campbell himself has been a target for vicious abuse, while managers Sir Alex Ferguson, Harry Redknapp, Avram Grant and Glenn Roeder have all recently complained about the offensive behaviour of crowds.

"It's out of hand now," Campbell told BBC Radio 4.

"We can all take the booing or light banter, but when it gets to the realms of verbal abuse it's a bridge too far."

Indeed, so strongly does Campbell feel about this issue that he telephoned the BBC himself to highlight it.

"You get to the stage when people say you've got to be immune to this," he added.

"I may be immune to this but I'm playing football and should not be subjected to that type of abuse.

"I am an international player who has given his whole career to club and country. I think I deserve more than this."

The ex-Tottenham and Arsenal centre-half added: "I know some people may be a little bit disgruntled at how I left certain clubs. I totally understand that.

"But when you get to the level of personal abuse that I and other players are subjected to, it's got to stop now."

And Campbell, 33, sees no distinction between the personalised verbal abuse and racist chanting.

"There is no difference for me. It's harmful. They are trying to belittle you and it is downright out of order."

He feels more should be done to help stamp out the abuse.

"I think the FA has let down a few players up and down the league," he said, and accused the governing body of trying to sweep the problem under the carpet.

"This is the 21st century," he said.

"This is a human rights situation where professional sportsmen - managers as well - want to do their job professionally and people are abusing them verbally.

"If this happened on the street you'd be arrested. The FA, the PFA and even the government should get involved."

He plans to meet the FA to air his concerns to them - but he believes clubs could be fined if they fail to control their fans.

Have your say