By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger has urged the football authorities to root out individuals who abuse players.

The Arsenal manager called for action after racial and homophobic abuse was directed at Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell during their victory against Tottenham last Sunday.

Hampshire police are investigating events at Fratton Park and Wenger was asked for his opinion at his pre-match press conference on Thursday. The Frenchman was very clear - he wants a 'zero-tolerance' policy towards perpetrators of any abuse at football grounds.

"My reaction is that abuse cannot be tolerated from anybody towards anybody in the world," said Wenger.

"How can you fight against it? You can single out people who do it. You can punish them individually by not letting them in, then maybe single out a group of people who go from game to game and do it.

"Sometimes stupidity is contagious as well and sometimes in the crowd there is a competition to see who can be more stupid. That is why you should not let these people be together.

"First of all, there is a big tolerance and the abuse only becomes singled out when it is racism. That is not the only abuse which you get in the stadium, but maybe people only get touched by it when it is racism. Insults of any kind should not be tolerated either."

The treatment handed out to Campbell proved that England still has work to do to stamp out crowd abuse in the domestic game. However, Wenger still believes that this country is a role model for others in Europe.

"I think the racist abuse is much worse in some other countries than in England," he said. "I believe that England has shown the right direction and the right way by not tolerating it and has done much more than any other country maybe in the game.

"That's why the problem we saw [at Fratton Park] comes up again because people don't accept it. In this country I find they are a model to copy. Most of the time when you visit other countries you meet this problem when you go more down to the south."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
2 Oct 2008