More racial abuse cases heighten calls for action

LONDON • Football authorities are facing more scrutiny over their handling of fans' racial abuse of players after three English clubs reported alleged incidents on Saturday and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha called out an online message branding him "a diving monkey".

The latest incidents came two days after Tottenham defender Danny Rose revealed he "cannot wait to see the back of football" because of the lack of action taken against racial abuse, while Raheem Sterling urged those in charge to take a "proper stance".

Among the incidents on Saturday, Brentford confirmed a season-ticket holder was arrested at Griffin Park after confronting Derby's Duane Holmes, who was in the dugout, having been substituted during their 3-3 draw.

Derby manager Frank Lampard said: "A fan came up to him and abused him… It was very clearly reported by the players and the people around."

In response, Brentford said they "utterly condemn discrimination" and would press for "the most severe sanctions".

Wigan issued a statement after their winger Nathan Byrne posted an image of a grossly offensive direct message he received on Twitter after their 2-2 draw with Bristol City at Ashton Gate, with the Lactics saying they reported the incident to the police as a hate crime.

Northampton, meanwhile, said their players had been racially abused while walking through Nottingham before their League Two draw with Notts County.

Zaha, who was fouled in the penalty area during Palace's 1-0 win at Newcastle, retweeted the abusive message he had received, tagging it "LOL".

He then responded to the abuse by writing on Instagram: "For all the people being racist and wishing death on my family, I wish you and your families the best too… my life is still very good despite your hate."

Anti-racism group Kick It Out released a statement condemning the latest incidents, tweeting: "Another week, another group of players racially abused… We won't stop highlighting this disgraceful behaviour while it remains deeply ingrained within football.

"We'll be liaising with the relevant authorities and offering support to clubs and players involved."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'More racial abuse cases heighten calls for action'. Print Edition | Subscribe