'It hurts being treated like an animal' – Kabasele calls for harsher racism punishments

A multitude of football's BAME athletes have been singled out for their ethnic backgrounds and more needs to be done, the Hornets defender says

Watford's Christian Kabasele has called for football's top authorities to crack down harder on individuals committing racial abuse, with a plethora of recent incidents across Europe bringing a long-term problem to the fore.

Several high-profile players have been targets for insults based on their ethnicity, with Premier League players Raheem Sterling, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Tammy Abraham, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, to name just a few, all victims of abuse.

New Everton striker Moise Kean found himself in the headlines before swapping Turin for Merseyside, too, after Cagliari fans made monkey noises at the young Italy international following his goal at the Sardegna Arena in April.

Serie A authorities opted not to take disciplinary action following those events in Sardinia and Cagliari's fanbase came under fire yet again for the same behaviour, this time directed at Romelu Lukaku as the Belgian stepped up to take a penalty .

A section of Inter's ultras leapt to the defence of their rivals' support, however, stating that those in the Cagliari crowd are not racist but merely trying to get an advantage over their opponents, whilst also admitting to doing it themselves.

And Kabasele, a fellow Belgium international, feels that more needs to be done to put an end to the problem.

“There's a lack of understanding and respect for each other,” Kabasele told Sky Sports . “When you saw what the fans of Inter said about it... they just don't get it. 

“For them it's just a way to make the opponent lose their head but it's not right, it's not the right thing to do. It's a serious thing to do to make monkey chants in a stadium and it is nothing about making the opponent lose their head.

“We need to take this problem very seriously and it's up to the federation to find the right punishment. It's as simple as that.”

Kabasele revealed that he too has been subjected to racist insults. Sadly, it has happened in his home nation Belgium, Bulgaria and now in England.

“Here in England [it happens] on social media,” the 28-year-old said. “In Belgium and in Bulgaria it happened on the pitch, so it's not easy.

“Being treated like an animal hurts a lot and until the federations think of the right punishment then we will still have this kind of problem.

“It's horrible. At first you feel really bad and the only thing as a player that you can do is try to report as much as possible when this kind of thing happens.

“Unfortunately, for the moment the punishment is not so high so we need to take a step in the right direction to try and get some stronger punishments.”