The racist incidents shaming football

By Press Association Sport Staff

Derby midfielder Duane Holmes and Wigan wing-back Nathan Byrne became the latest players to be subjected to alleged racist abuse while in action for their clubs over the weekend.

England defender Danny Rose, meanwhile, admitted he has “had enough” of the current problems in the game and “can’t wait” for his career to end.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look back at the recent incidents which have brought the issue to a head.

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Banana skin thrown at Aubameyang

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A Tottenham fan was fined and banned from football for four years after throwing a banana skin at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he celebrated the first of his two goals during the Gunner’s 4-2 north London derby victory in December. A judge found there had been a racial motivation behind the incident.

Sterling at Stamford Bridge

Raheem Sterling said he expected “no better” after being abused at Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)
Raheem Sterling said he expected “no better” after being abused at Chelsea (Adam Davy/PA)

Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was subjected to alleged racist abuse from a section of home supporters from behind the goal as he went to collect the ball for a corner during the 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in December. Clips of the abuse were widely circulated on social media following the televised game and Chelsea subsequently suspended four people in connection with the incident, which was also investigated by the Metropolitan Police. Sterling took to social media the following day, saying he “had to laugh” when he heard the comments because he expected “no better”. He also accused the media of helping to “fuel racism” with the way in which young black footballers were portrayed.

Hudson-Odoi in Kiev

Chelsea lodged a formal complaint with UEFA over monkey chants aimed at 18-year-old winger Callum Hudson-Odoi from a small group of home supporters during the closing stages of the 5-0 Europa League win away to Dynamo Kiev on March 14. Governing body UEFA later confirmed an investigation had been opened.

Jones handed five-match ban

Sheffield United terminated the contract of Sophie Jones by mutual agreement after the forward was banned for five matches for racially abusing Tottenham’s Renee Hector. Defender Hector alleged she “received some monkey noises from an opposition player” during a Women’s Championship game in January, leading to Jones being charged by the Football Association. Jones denied the claim and maintained her innocence, but an independent regulatory commission found the charge proven. In the wake of the punishment, Jones announced her retirement from football.

England stars abused in Podgorica

England players Rose and Hudson-Odoi were subject to racist chanting during England’s 5-1 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Montenegro. Forward Sterling reacted to scoring England’s final goal by pulling his ears in front of home fans as a sign of defiance, later also taking to social media to address the issue head on. UEFA subsequently opened proceedings against Montenegro, including a charge of racist behaviour.

Kean criticised by own team-mate

Juventus’ 19-year-old striker Moise Kean was racially abused by Cagliari supporters and responded by celebrating a late goal in his side’s 2-0 win, spreading his arms wide in defiant response to the monkey chants. His team-mate Blaise Matuidi signalled he would be ready to walk off over the abuse – but Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and defender Leonardo Bonucci both said in post-match interviews Kean should take some of the blame for the reaction to his celebration. Their comments drew widespread criticism – although Bonucci said his had been “misunderstood”, with Allegri subsequently declaring racism was “never justifiable”.

EFL angered by Holmes and Byrne incidents

A Brentford season-ticket holder was arrested following a claim of abuse by Derby midfielder Duane Holmes during a Championship match at Griffin Park, while Wigan reported a sickening message sent to wing-back Nathan Byrne on social media to the police. A 20-year-old man from Sheffield was later arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and malicious communications after handing himself in. Several members of Northampton’s first-team squad were, meanwhile, also allegedly abused prior to their match at Notts County. The EFL said it was “saddened, disappointed and angered” by the incidents.

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