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23 Dec, 2019 11:56

'I apologize unreservedly': Sky Sports host sorry for 'ruining' Gary Neville's anti-racism speech (VIDEO)

'I apologize unreservedly': Sky Sports host sorry for 'ruining' Gary Neville's anti-racism speech (VIDEO)

Sky Sports broadcaster David Jones has issued an apology online for 'shutting down' a speech that pundit Gary Neville was making on the rise of racism in the English game following Tottenham's home defeat to Chelsea on Sunday.

Neville was vocal in his thoughts on the matter immediately after the game, which saw Chelsea's German defender Antonio Rudiger targeted by alleged racist abuse from sections of the Spurs support.

'When will this nonsense stop?' Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger speaks out following alleged racist abuse at Tottenham

Former Manchester United and England star Neville stated that the Premier League must "stand up" to the problem, which he sees as stemming from broader social and political issues in the country.

"We have a racism problem in the Premier League in England, and the Premier League have got to stand up, they hide behind the FA [Football Association] on this issue," Neville said, before suggesting that the issue was being stoked by the leaders of the two primary political parties in the UK.

However, Jones interjected to declare that the views were those of Neville alone and not necessarily the broadcaster.

"I am compelled to say, they are the views of you, Gary Neville, and not those of Sky Sports, that is my duty," he said.

After the comments began to generate their own discussion online, Jones took to Twitter to clarify his statements and said that he had intended to distance Sky Sports from allegations of racism in politics - and not from the blight of discrimination in sport.

"I’m so sorry to have spoiled what was such an important discussion on racism tonight. I had to intervene when Gary suggested the two main political parties were to blame – I didn’t make that clear enough. For that I apologise unreservedly," he wrote.

"I would never purposefully shut down a discussion on racism. I’ve worked for Sky for over 20 years and know they share my view that racism of any kind should not be tolerated. That is not a debate. And that’s why I’m so very disappointed and sorry tonight."

Neville received support from several prominent figures within the sport including Gary Lineker and Ian Wright, while UK shadow chancellor John McDonnell also praised Neville but made no comment as to Neville's suggestions of racism in UK politics.

"The Premier League and FA have to start taking more effective action against homegrown racism at matches in this country," he said. "We thought we had largely eradicated this scourge but there have been too many new incidences taking place in recent games."

This latest racism storm comes amid a growing trend of such incidents in the European game in recent months. Last week, the Italian football hierarchy were slammed for authorizing an anti-racism campaign which an artist commissioned to design paintings featuring monkeys painted with the colors of Serie A teams.

Also on rt.com 'Total lack of consultation': Serie A clubs slam league's use of monkey artwork in anti-racism campaign