FA offers its unequivocal backing for Brewster

Rhian Brewster celebrating England's U-17 World Cup win on Oct 28. The Reds youth striker has voiced out after witnessing seven racial abuse incidents this year.
Rhian Brewster celebrating England's U-17 World Cup win on Oct 28. The Reds youth striker has voiced out after witnessing seven racial abuse incidents this year.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • The Football Association (FA) lent its full support to Rhian Brewster, the leading scorer in England's Under-17 World Cup win earlier this year, over his claims of having suffered racial abuse.

The 17-year-old - who is yet to make his debut for Liverpool's first team - claimed on Thursday that Uefa "don't really care" about racism. Brewster said he had witnessed racial abuse - either aimed at him or a team-mate - seven times this year.

The FA in a statement on Friday said: "In Rhian's case, we have visited him at his club to discuss his concerns and understand his frustration at the perceived lack of action. He has our full support and we will continue to push for appropriate responses from the relevant authorities."

The FA said they wanted to collaborate closely with Uefa and world governing body Fifa over the issue.

Brewster told Thursday's edition of The Guardian that Uefa have yet to hold an inquiry into an incident involving Russian side Spartak Moscow three weeks ago, when he claims he was the target of a racist remark by opposing captain Leonid Mironov. Mironov denies he made a racial slur during the Uefa Youth League match.

Brewster, who says he also suffered abuse in an European Championship U-17 match against Ukraine and while playing against Spanish outfit Sevilla in an U-19 clash, admits the slurs have an effect.

"The day it happens, that night, my head won't be there. I want to be left alone. And the next day, I'll still be thinking about it," he said.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Brewster's courage for speaking out about racial abuse and said he hoped that the people at the top of the sport will listen to the teenager and realise more needs to be done in the fight against racism.

"I am really happy he is brave enough to do what he did because it is such an important thing," Klopp said. "I really can't believe people still have these thoughts in their mind now.

"It's so strange that it happens in this world now, and we need a 17-year-old boy to shout out and say it is still happening all the time and that we need help to stop it. If he needs help, we will give it to him."

Under Uefa's rules, any player found guilty of making racial slurs can be suspended for a minimum of 10 matches.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 31, 2017, with the headline 'FA offers its unequivocal backing for Brewster'. Print Edition | Subscribe