1 Jun 2012

Beckham ‘would leave pitch over racism’

David Beckham tells Channel 4 News Sports Reporter Keme Nzerem he would walk off the pitch in support of a player being racially abused and that he thinks an Olympian should light the Olympic flame.

Beckham was speaking as he dropped in on the three-to 11-year-olds at Vaughan Primary School, west Harrow, in north west London.

It was to reward them for going above and beyond the call of duty in promoting Paralympic sport and ideals as part of the Sainsbury’s 1 million kids challenge.

The LA Galaxy star and former England captain said he had been inspired to meet the youngsters, who made Paralympic sport part of their curriculum and joined forces with Aspire, the spinal injury charity.

He told Channel 4 News that he did not remember any events encouraging Paralympic sport when he was at school and that the 2012 games had prompted more than 2 million children around the country to try a Paralympic activity.

Euro racism fears

Despite concerns about racism and violence at this month’s Euro 2012 football championships in Poland and Ukraine, Beckham told Channel 4 News he would take his children to watch a game.

When asked whether he would walk off the pitch in support of a teammate facing racist abuse he said: “Of course, without a doubt”.

He added: “If he stayed on the field and played that’s a bigger message for me because then people like that (racists) don’t win.”

“The teams I’ve played for, the players I’ve played against – everyone wants racism kicked out of football – it’s as simple as that.”

Will Beckham light Olympic flame?

We still do not know who will light the flame at the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, but Beckham dismissed speculation it might be him

“My view has always been that an Olympian should be carrying the torch and lighting the cauldron – that’s my personal opinion,” he said. “Not that it matters for much, but that’s the truth.”

There is still a chance that Beckham could become an Olympian by playing for the Great Britain football team – an honour that he said would be “special”.