Rugby World Cup 2020: ‘English clubs need to act’ on racism, warns Lilian Thuram

Media playback is not supported on this device RFU to introduce minimum five-day bans for homophobic abuse World Cup winner Lilian Thuram has warned the French rugby union if they do not do more…

Rugby World Cup 2020: 'English clubs need to act' on racism, warns Lilian Thuram

Media playback is not supported on this device RFU to introduce minimum five-day bans for homophobic abuse

World Cup winner Lilian Thuram has warned the French rugby union if they do not do more to help tackle racism they are risking being punished at next year’s World Cup.

One of Thuram’s ex-teammates at the 1995 World Cup, Teddy Thomas, also issued a stark warning about the state of affairs in the French game.

The All Blacks-born flanker said the RFU (England’s domestic governing body) are adopting a guilty until proven innocent policy on anti-racism.

“They have a responsibility to help the French players see things in a different way,” Thuram told BBC World Service’s Football Focus.

“The RFU have said it will punish people for racism, and things have got worse in England but some clubs have acknowledged it.

“They need to use all their influence to make sure things don’t get worse.”

THIRSTY RUSH RINGMAN OF THE TOUR WINTER BALL SERIES WHITE TEAM RATINGS Results Kilburn 10 v Wigan 24 June Dunblane 34 v Bridgend 17 May Bury 5 v Ulster 20 June Wembley 18 v Castleford 30 June London Ealing 6 v Leicester 24 June St Helen’s 8 v Bath 38 June Bourget 7 v London Broncos 4 July Warrington 25 v Batley 26 September Warrington v Kingston Rovers 20 September Newcastle 20 v Warrington 24 October

Thomas played for the Toulouse club for a decade before moving to Australia in 2008, and said he was growing tired of watching people being persecuted for racism in the game he loves.

“It’s got to the point that people want to act because they’re getting tired of seeing it,” said Thomas, who played alongside Thuram during the 1995 World Cup.

“I haven’t heard the England players talk about it. It’s surprising because you would think they would be aware.

“The worst thing about it is that they’ll say it’s ‘no big deal’ in England but when it comes to racism in France it’s quite different.

“They have to make a stand. At the World Cup it’s quite an intense environment, it has to be taken seriously.”

While Thuram will not have to play in the knockout stages, Thomas knows all too well what it is like to have your own team-mates targeted in anti-racism abuse, having been attacked by Birmingham fans during a match against Manly-Warringah at Warrington in 2000.

He also knows just how much it feels like the game can be stopped.

“I had 10 stitches in my head from that, my tackle of Matt Cooper. All of the social media was filled with abuse,” Thomas recalled.

“The police said it didn’t happen, it’s all false. And the game never got stopped, because it’s so the polite way to talk about racism.

“If we’d had a round of applause after that tackle, it would have stopped the attacks.”

Thomas retired from the sport in 2007.

Thuram, 41, spent a season with Toulouse after retiring, before opting to play for Toulon.

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