Azeem Rafiq described himself as "incredibly hurt" after England captain Joe Root said he could not recall witnessing racism at Yorkshire.

An independent report upheld former Yorkshire spinner Rafiq's allegations that he had been the victim of "racial harassment and bullying" during his time with the county.

Yorkshire carried out their own internal investigation following the findings of the report and concluded no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives warranted disciplinary measures.

The England and Wales Cricket Board last week suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism.

Yorkshire batsman Root addressed the scandal in a statement on Friday, saying it had "fractured our game" and "torn lives apart".

However, in a subsequent media interview, the England skipper was asked if he had witnessed racism in his time at the county and replied: "Not that I can recall, no... but it's clear things have happened at the club."

Shortly after those quotes were released, Rafiq posted on Twitter: "Disappointed is not even the feeling. Incredibly hurt. But uncomfortable truths are hard to accept it seems."

He added no further comment or explanation, but it was reported Rafiq's post was in relation to Root's interview.

Mark Arthur, Yorkshire's CEO, resigned on Friday with immediate effect, following chairman Roger Hutton and other board members.

Yorkshire have suspended head coach Andrew Gale pending a disciplinary hearing into an historic tweet, while director of cricket Martyn Moxon has been signed off due to a stress-related illness.

Gale, who in 2014 led Yorkshire to County Championship success as captain, is reported to have used an anti-Semitic slur in a Twitter conversation.

Jewish News, who brought the comment to light, published a response from Gale in which he insisted he deleted the post as soon as he was informed of its offensive nature, with the 37-year-old concluding the publication had been sent a screenshot that "that someone took at the time and waited 11 years to release".

Yorkshire has told him to stay away from the team pending an investigation.

"We can confirm that Andrew Gale, Yorkshire First XI Coach, is currently suspended pending a disciplinary hearing following an historic tweet," read a statement.

"The club will make a further statement once this process has been completed."

Additionally, Moxon has been given time off work due to a stress-related problem.

He is set to appear at the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) select committee hearing on November 16 following Yorkshire's handling of Azeem Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism during his time at the club.

An independent report into Rafiq's complaints upheld that the spinner had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

The county side were punished, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspending Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches indefinitely, while sponsors such as Emerald and Nike have withdrawn from agreements.

England's T20 captain Eoin Morgan says the Yorkshire racism scandal is as "serious and relevant" to the squad as any of their playing achievements.

An independent report into Azeem Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire upheld that the spinner had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

The county has been punished, with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) suspending Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches, while sponsors such as Emerald and Nike have withdrawn from agreements.

Roger Hutton resigned as Yorkshire chairman, with his replacement – Lord Patel – offering Rafiq an unreserved apology on Monday.

Gary Ballance has also been indefinitely suspended from international selection after the batsman – who has not played for England since 2017 – admitted he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to when they were Yorkshire team-mates.

Morgan, whose side are preparing for a T20 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, revealed England's players have discussed the matter, and are committed to using their platform to end discrimination within the sport.

"We definitely don't shelter anything that's going on, particularly things as serious and as relevant to our squad as anything that we've ever done, really," Morgan told reporters.

"We talk about discrimination quite a lot because in our group there is a lot of diversity.

"After winning the 2019 World Cup and becoming a more formidable side with a bigger platform, that has allowed us to feel comfortable enough to continue to tell our different stories."

Morgan also outlined how important it is for his players to act as role models for future generations.

"We feel comfortable within our own skin to play great cricket on the field but also to be really strong role models," he added.

"With what's going on in Yorkshire, we've continued to chat about things and how it might affect younger generations.

"Being at the forefront of change both on and off the field for us is not always easy. Particularly at the beginning.

"We're at one of those stages right now for Yorkshire, and within the group we talk about seeing the bigger picture down the line and the huge benefits we will see coming into that county.

"We all want to be able to share our dream that we've dreamt about for so long as kids and have been so looking to live that dream. We want young kids to be able to picture that but also picture a pathway to be able to achieve it.

"So the things we do during this World Cup and beyond are very important."

Azeem Rafiq has received a public apology from new Yorkshire chairman Lord Patel for the county's handling of his racism allegations.

Patel replaced Roger Hutton as the chair of Yorkshire after the latter resigned over the club's response to the racism allegations raised by Rafiq relating to his time with the county.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire.

An independent report upheld that the spinner had been a victim of "racial harassment and bullying", while it also emerged the panel deemed repeated use of a racial slur as "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo. The case will be heard in parliament later this month.

In a news conference on Thursday, Patel offered an unreserved apology.

"Azeem is a whistleblower and should be praised as such, he should never have been put through this," Patel said.

"We're sorry for what you and your family have experienced and the way in which we've handled this.

"I thank Azeem for his bravery in speaking out. Let me be clear from the outset, racism or discrimination in any form is not 'banter'."

Patel, who is commissioning a specialist independent review of the county's processes and procedures on diversity and inclusion, also confirmed a settlement with Rafiq did not include a non-disclosure agreement.

"Absolutely no restrictions have been placed on Azeem on what he can or cannot say about his experiences," Patel added.

Yorkshire's new chairman has been in contact with the ECB over restoring international fixtures to Headingley, which, prior to its suspension, was due to host a Test match against New Zealand in June 2022 and an ODI against South Africa the following month.

The stadium's sponsor, Emerald, has already withdrawn from their partnership, while kit manufacturer Nike also pulled out of their deal.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has suspended Yorkshire from hosting international and major matches in response to the club's "wholly unacceptable" handling of Azeem Rafiq's racism allegations.

Gary Ballance has also been indefinitely suspended from international selection after the former England batsman admitted he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to when they were Yorkshire team-mates.

An independent report into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying".

It also emerged the independent panel had deemed repeated use of the "P***" word against Rafiq was "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo.

Yorkshire last week stated that the club had carried out their own internal investigation following the findings of the report and concluded no conduct or action taken by any of its employees, players or executives that warranted disciplinary action.

The ECB board met on Thursday and has vowed to hold Yorkshire to account, ordering the club to deal with the matter "robustly", stating it is clear there are "serious questions" regarding the governance and management of the club.

The governing body stated Yorkshire's "failure in relation to actions and responses to their own report represent a significant breach of its obligations to the game."

England are scheduled to face New Zealand in a Test and an ODI against South Africa at Headingley next year, while the Leeds venue is also due to host an Ashes Test in 2023, but may lose all three.

An ECB statement said: "It is clear to the Board that YCCC's handling of the issues raised by Azeem Rafiq is wholly unacceptable and is causing serious damage to the reputation of the game. The ECB find this matter abhorrent and against the spirit of cricket and its values.

"There is no place for racism or any form of discrimination in cricket and where it is found, swift action must be taken. This matter must be dealt with robustly if the sport is to demonstrate its commitment to truly being a game for everyone.

"As a governing body with duties to act for all in cricket, the ECB Board reaffirmed its commitment to taking decisions in the best interests of the whole game."

The statement continued "It [the board] also agreed that sanctions including, but not limited to, financial and future major match allocations may be considered at the conclusion of our investigations.

"In the meantime, YCCC are suspended from hosting international or major matches until it has clearly demonstrated that it can meet the standards expected of an international venue, ECB member and First Class County.

"The ECB Board has asked the ECB Executive to commission a review of Yorkshire CCC's governance to consider whether the existing arrangements are fit for purpose.

"The regulatory processes already underway into the allegations brought by Azeem Rafiq will ultimately be determined by an independent tribunal (The Cricket Disciplinary Committee).

"Before any regulatory investigation is complete, the Board wishes to take immediate action in relation to Gary Ballance. While Mr Ballance has not been selected to play for England since 2017, he will be suspended indefinitely from selection. This position will be reviewed following the ECB regulatory investigation into his conduct."

Rafiq stated earlier on Thursday that cricket desperately needs "reform and cultural change".

"I'm not intending to say very much until the [Department for Culture, Media and Sport's] select committee hearing later this month. However, I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals," he tweeted.

"This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Rafiq and Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton are due to appear in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's select committee to give evidence on November 16.

Publishing company Emerald and Nike are among the sponsors Yorkshire have lost due to their handling of the Rafiq case.

Azeem Rafiq says cricket desperately needs "reform and cultural change" after Gary Ballance admitted using a racial slur towards his former Yorkshire team-mate.

Ex-England batsman Ballance on Wednesday released a statement admitting he was responsible for some of the offensive and inappropriate language Rafiq was subjected to during his time at Headingley.

Ballance, 31, said he deeply regrets some of the language he used in his younger years, describing Rafiq as his "best mate in cricket".

The Zimbabwe-born former Yorkshire captain claimed he and Rafiq had "said offensive things to each other which, outside of that context, would be considered wholly inappropriate".

An independent report into Rafiq's allegations of institutional racism at Yorkshire County Cricket Club upheld that the spinner had been victim of "racial harassment and bullying”.

It also emerged the independent panel had deemed repeated use of the "P***" word against Rafiq was "in the spirit of friendly banter", according to ESPNcricinfo.

Rafiq on Thursday responded to Ballance's statement by posting on Twitter: "I'm not intending to say very much until the [Department for Culture, Media and Sport's] select committee hearing later this month. However, I wanted to stress this is not really about the words of certain individuals.

"This is about institutional racism and abject failures to act by numerous leaders at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and in the wider game. The sport I love and my club desperately need reform and cultural change."

Rafiq and Yorkshire chairman Roger Hutton are due to appear in front of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's select committee to give evidence on November 16.

Publishing company Emerald has been among the sponsors Yorkshire have lost due to their handling of the Rafiq case.

Quinton De Kock has apologised to his South Africa team-mates for refusing to take the knee and says he will now make the anti-racism gesture ahead of future matches.

South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup opener with West Indies after he pulled out for "personal reasons".

That came after Cricket South Africa (CSA) agreed all Proteas should take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

CSA later confirmed De Kock was absent for the Group 1 match at Dubai International Stadium because of his refusal to follow the directive.

South Africa captain Bavuma said he was "taken aback" by De Kock's stance.

But De Kock has now attempted to resolve the row by releasing a wide-ranging statement following "emotional" talks with the CSA board on Wednesday.

"I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home," the statement, released via CSA on Thursday, read.

"I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism and the responsibility of us as players to set an example. 

"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so. I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves. 

"Maybe some people don't understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."

De Kock has previously been quiet on his decision to not show support for the anti-racism gesture, but he has now explained his reasons why.
 
"For those who don't know, I come from a mixed race family. My half-sisters are coloured and my step mom is black," he said.

"For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement. 

"The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. 

"I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told. 

"Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well."

He added: "I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided. I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.

"I chose to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought of the pride of playing for my family and my country. I didn't understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. 

"When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.  

"Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am. I've been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. But those didn't hurt.

"Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply. It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife. I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that. 

"I know I'm not great with words, but I've tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me. It is not.

"I won't lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived 'or else'. 

"I don't think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had Zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. 

"I love every one of my team-mates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa. I think it would have been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started.

"Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country. There always seems to be a drama when we go to World Cups. That isn't fair."

De Kock concluded his statement by praising the leadership of Bavuma, who is South Africa's first permanent black captain.

"I just want to thank my team-mates for their support, especially my captain, Temba," he said. "People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader. 

"If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again."

LaLiga has reported the racist abuse of Real Madrid player Vinicius Junior by a Barcelona supporter during El Clasico to local authorities. 

The incident occurred as Vinicius made his way around the Camp Nou pitch after being substituted in the 87th minute of the 2-1 victory for Los Blancos on Sunday.

LaLiga has decided to report the incident to the Prosecutor's Office in Barcelona in case it constitutes a hate crime. 

A statement from LaLiga read: "Following the events that occurred in the match held at Camp Nou last Sunday, in which a home fan abused Real Madrid player Vinicius Jr with racist insults, LaLiga will proceed to report the event to the Hate Crimes Chamber of the Prosecutor's Office in Barcelona in case they constitute the crime outlined in Article 510 of the Penal Code. 

"LaLiga, as it did when [Athletic Bilbao's] Inaki Williams received racist insults at the home of Espanyol in January 2020, will appear as a private complainant to cooperate in the fight against any type of act or behaviour that is racist or xenophobic. 

"LaLiga has been fighting this kind of behaviour for years and promoting the positive values of sport." 

Giorgio Chiellini says he felt "ashamed" by the racist abuse Napoli players were subjected to by Fiorentina fans during Sunday's Serie A game at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Victor Osimhen were targeted during leaders Napoli's 2-1 victory in Florence.

Koulibaly called for those guilty of the abuse to be banned for life and Italy captain Chiellini demanded that strong action must be taken.

The Juventus centre-back said: "It is unacceptable. We need laws and rules that are applied, this is the most important thing.

"I was ashamed, as an Italian and a Tuscan, also because Italy is not a racist country for me.

"Something more must be done, otherwise from outside we give a bad image of ourselves "

Defender Koulibaly was targeted by spectators as he was interviewed on the pitch after the game.

According to reports by II Napolista, Fiorentina's director general Joe Barone went to Napoli's changing room to apologise personally.

Osimhen slammed the perpetrators in a tweet, writing: "Speak to your kids, your parents, make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin. NO TO RACISM."

Koulibaly followed suit on Twitter, where he said he was called a "monkey".

He added: "They called me that. These people have nothing to do with sport. They must be identified and kept out of the stadiums. Forever."

Serie A has had issues with racist behaviour from supporters already this season.

Milan last month filed an official complaint to the Federal Prosecutor's Office following Tiemoue Bakayoko's claims that he and Franck Kessie were abused by a section of Lazio fans.

Kalidou Koulibaly has called for permanent bans for the fans who targeted himself, Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa and Victor Osimhen with racist abuse in Sunday's match between Napoli and Fiorentina. 

The three Napoli players were the subject of racist chants from some sections of the Fiorentina support during the game.

Koulibaly, who helped Napoli to a 2-1 win, was also targeted by spectators as he was interviewed on the pitch by DAZN after the game.

According to reports by II Napolista, Fiorentina's director general Joe Barone went to Napoli's changing room to apologise personally.

Osimhen hit out at the perpetrators in a tweet, stating: "Speak to your kids, your parents, make them understand how disgusting it is to hate an individual because of the colour of their skin. NO TO RACISM."

Koulibaly followed suit, revealing the fans called him a "f****** monkey".

"'Monkey of s***. F****** monkey'", Koulibaly's tweet began.

"They called me that. These people have nothing to do with sport. They must be identified and kept out of the stadiums. Forever."

Serie A has had issues with racist behaviour from some supporters already this season.

In September, Milan filed an official complaint to the Federal Prosecutor's Office following Tiemoue Bakayoko's claims that he and Franck Kessie were abused by a section of Lazio fans.

Gareth Southgate insists England will be prepared for another hostile atmosphere when they travel to Warsaw to face Poland.

England have enjoyed a productive international break thus far, coasting past Hungary and Andorra by an aggregate score of 8-0 to make it five wins in five games.

Last Thursday in Budapest, England players were subjected to racist abuse by the crowd, Raheem Sterling being the main target as he celebrated his opener.

Southgate expects a tough test on Wednesday, with five of the last seven games on Polish soil finishing as a draw between these two sides.

"We have to approach the game as we did the other night," said the England boss.

"We know keeping possession of the ball can be a big factor in managing those situations.

"But the flow of the game will be different and we are playing a level of opponent who I think is in a better moment.

"They have won their last two games and have good footballers in the team who will keep the ball a little bit better than Hungary were able to against us.

"Then there is a balance of not inflaming situations and giving a home crowd something to live off and get behind the team more.

"That's the balance and experience. I'm sure our players will manage that no problem."

 

Poland have failed to beat the Three Lions in their last 17 attempts and Southgate appreciates the visitors can take control of their World Cup qualification destiny.

"It's a big opportunity for us, we can take a really positive step to the World Cup if we win in Warsaw," he continued.

"There's a high level of motivation, but we're also guarding against any feeling that we're better than we are.

"The team is playing well and we have a squad, any of whom are more than comfortable coming into the side and playing well when they come into the team.

"But those moments can be dangerous if we get any sense of complacency, then we're going into a game where we can be really challenged."

Sloane Stephens has detailed the online abuse she received after exiting the US Open to Angelique Kerber.

Stephens, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2017, was beaten 5-7 6-2 6-3 in the third round on Friday by three-time major champion Kerber.

The American had defeated outstanding teenager Coco Gauff in her previous match but could not maintain a title challenge in New York.

It was a defeat that prompted a shocking response on social media, Stephens revealed on Saturday.

"I am human," she wrote on her Instagram story. "After last night's match I got [more than 2,000] messages of abuse/anger from people upset by yesterday's result.

"It's so hard to read messages like these, but I'll post a few so you guys can see what it's like after a loss..."

Stephens then shared screenshots of a series of threatening, racist and misogynistic messages aimed in her direction.

She added: "This type of hate is so exhausting and never ending. This isn't talked about enough, but it really freaking sucks...

"I'm happy to have people in my corner who support me. I'm choosing positive vibes over negative ones.

"I choose to show you guys happiness on here, but it's not always smiles and roses."

Gareth Southgate revealed his England stars are fed up of racism controversies overshadowing their strong performances – but vowed they would not back down.

England are on a high after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the same stage in the Nations League, and then marching to the Euro 2020 final.

It should be a time when their achievements are being splashed across coverage of the team.

Yet the disgusting treatment that England's black players have frequently received at away games has meant the team's positive results have been accompanied by reporting of the problems they have encountered, often overshadowing on-field success.

FIFA has launched an investigation and opened disciplinary proceedings against the Hungarian FA after England players were targeted as Southgate's team won 4-0 in Budapest on Thursday.

England should be on safe ground in such regard when they face Andorra in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday, which will come as a relief to the head coach, who says progress in banishing the bigots has been "very slow".

Asked about how well Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham had handled the abuse in Hungary, Southgate said: "I don't know how many camps we've had in the past four years, but I seem to have been talking about this subject almost every time we've been together. I can only reiterate our players are incredibly mature the way they deal with it.

"They feel supported by their team-mates, which is very important to them, and their team-mates recognise how challenging it must be for our black players and how disappointing it is in the modern world that we continue to have to answer these questions because of the incidents that happen.

"But we can only keep taking the stance that we have done and hope we continue to send the right messages, not only to people in football but across society, and that everybody keeps progressing.

 

"We know it's going to take time and we know it feels very slow for everybody, but we have to keep fighting that battle.

"There's a balance there that the lads want to get on with their football, and as much as it's important we talk about this publicly, they don't necessarily want it to be uppermost in the conversation.

"They want their performances on the pitch to be recognised, and when you've played as our lads did the other night, they want to be talking about how well they've played and that is the thing that they're here to do.

"They recognise their wider responsibilities and at the right moments they want to affect those things, but when they're playing they want to be judged on their play."

England have won all four of their previous matches against Andorra by an aggregate score of 16-0, with this their first match against them since a 6-0 home win under Fabio Capello in June 2009.

A typically comfortable England win can reasonably be expected for their latest meeting, with Andorra having lost 55 of their 57 away qualifying matches for the World Cup and European Championship, drawing against Macedonia in 2005 and against Albania in 2019 in the two games where they have avoided defeat.

Andorra did manage a 2-0 victory over San Marino on Thursday, however, while England were solidifying their status as Group I front-runners in Hungary.

Southgate confirmed Wolves defender Conor Coady would start against Andorra but declined to offer any further morsels about the make-up of his team.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford could make his England debut, and Southgate urged him to make the most of any opportunity he gets.

"It's a special moment for him and his family," said the England boss. "We want him to do what he does every week with his club. I think he's got a really clear picture of how we like to play.

"We just want him to go and enjoy his football. We know what he's capable of and we're looking forward to seeing him play."

Gareth Bale says he would support his Wales team-mates if they decided to walk off the pitch due to racist abuse during a game. 

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings after England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were reportedly racially abused during a World Cup qualifier away to Hungary. 

Gareth Southgate’s side were also booed from some sections of the crowd inside the Puskas Arena while taking the knee prior to kick-off. They went on to win the game 4-0 in Budapest. 

Speaking ahead of his Wales' qualifier in Belarus on Sunday, Bale feels it is only a matter of time before teams walk off the pitch in response to such abuse – a move he feels would be correct in the circumstances. 

"If things don't get sorted, that will happen," the Real Madrid forward said. 

"If we felt we weren't getting protection and being treated the right way by the governing bodies and the only way to get the best response was to walk off, I'd be fully for it. 

"At the end of the day, it's the right thing to do and it's more important than football. 

"We haven't discussed it. But we'd have that discussion if it happened and we'd all agree on it as we're a team that sticks together and if anyone is being targeted, we'll do the right thing." 

As for his club career, Bale is back at Madrid after a season on loan at Tottenham last term.

He has started all three LaLiga games under Carlo Ancelotti and, while having enjoyed his time back at Spurs, the 32-year-old is delighted to be part of a "better environment" at Los Blancos. 

"It is always good to be in a good environment," said Bale, who fell out of favour with former Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

"I think the biggest reason why I went to Tottenham was because I knew it would be a better environment for me, a break that maybe I needed at the time.

"I had a great time at Tottenham. It definitely helped me mentally to be back in a happier place. I think that showed again coming back with Wales in the Euros.

"I have brought that into Real Madrid this season, where obviously there is a better environment for myself anyway."

Gareth Bale says he would support his Wales team-mates if they decided to walk off the pitch due to racist abuse during a game. 

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings after England players Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were reportedly racially abused during a World Cup qualifier away to Hungary. 

Gareth Southgate’s side were also booed from some sections of the crowd inside the Puskas Arena while taking the knee prior to kick-off. They went on to win the game 4-0 in Budapest. 

Speaking ahead of his Wales' qualifier in Belarus on Sunday, Bale feels it is only a matter of time before teams walk off the pitch in response to such abuse – a move he feels would be correct in the circumstances. 

"If things don't get sorted, that will happen," the Real Madrid forward said. 

"If we felt we weren't getting protection and being treated the right way by the governing bodies and the only way to get the best response was to walk off, I'd be fully for it. 

"At the end of the day, it's the right thing to do and it's more important than football. 

"We haven't discussed it. But we'd have that discussion if it happened and we'd all agree on it as we're a team that sticks together and if anyone is being targeted, we'll do the right thing." 

As for his club career, Bale is back at Madrid after a season on loan at Tottenham last term.

He has started all three LaLiga games under Carlo Ancelotti and, while having enjoyed his time back at Spurs, the 32-year-old is delighted to be part of a "better environment" at Los Blancos. 

"It is always good to be in a good environment," said Bale, who fell out of favour with former Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

"I think the biggest reason why I went to Tottenham was because I knew it would be a better environment for me, a break that maybe I needed at the time.

"I had a great time at Tottenham. It definitely helped me mentally to be back in a happier place. I think that showed again coming back with Wales in the Euros.

"I have brought that into Real Madrid this season, where obviously there is a better environment for myself anyway."

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