London: England captain David Beckham is set to head a Football Association (FA) campaign to combat racism and violence among national fans, Sunday’s Observer reported.
The newspaper quoted FA officials as saying that Beckham would record a message to be played before the kickoff at England’s next two home matches.
England play a friendly international against Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester City’s ground on June 3 followed by the Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia at Middlesbrough eight days later.
The move follows racist abuse and crowd trouble at last month’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, for which England were fined 150,000 Swiss francs ($111,600) by Uefa last Thursday.
England escaped being ordered to play the Slovakia game behind closed doors with Uefa acknowledging FA efforts to stamp out hooliganism, including plans to ban for life fans who run on to the pitch at their matches.
The Observer quoted a senior FA official as saying: “Beckham is the ideal person for this as he’s the one player all his teammates and all the England fans respect. We hope people listen to him and act accordingly.”