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Youth team allege racist abuse

DIVERSE TEAM: Nirvana FC's Under 15 team has allegedly suffered racial abuse

NIRVANA FOOTBALL Club (NFC) has lodged a formal complaint to the football authorities and police, alleging its Under-15 team was racially abused by opposition players and parents during a match last month.

Witnesses watching the match have claimed monkey chants and gestures were directed at the NFC players as young as 14-years-old, according to club chairman Kirk Master.

The Leicester-based team predominantly comprises minority players from the black and Asian communities.

It is alleged that on October 21, parents and spectators of Blaby and Whetstone Football Club (BWFC) used grossly offensive words as “n****r” and “monkey”, while threats of physical violence were made after the game, with one spectator entering the field of play to confront NFC players.

Master told The Voice: “At this moment I am disgusted with what I have heard from those in attendance and want some immediate action taking.

“The club have held an emergency meeting to discuss the matter, as we as a club are not under any circumstances going to allow this behaviour to occur against our players, parents or any other BME person city-wide.

“The incident has been reported to Leicestershire County FA, the national FA, Kick It Out, and the police, and we also reported it to the Race Equality Council in Leicester,” he added.

Master said only the county FA had acknowledged its complaint to date.

NFC, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, was conceived as part of an inner city youth organisation known as Red Star.

“The incident that occurred bears parallels to the events experienced by England Under 21s against Serbia, at a grassroots level,” said the chairman.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first incident with them and our club – and other black clubs involved in the city, but this is the pinnacle of all the activity that has gone on previously.”

Chief executive of Leicestershire County FA Keith Murdoch told The Voice: “We have had a complaint and we are investigating that complaint.

“As I am going to be making the decision on what action to take, it would be inappropriate to make any comment on the incident.

“We have a set of laws of the game and the conduct of what we expect, and we have specific charges that can be applied. The question would be, have any of the rules be broken, if they have been broken then I do an assessment of which one and then I would issue the charge against that,” Murdoch added.

When contacted by The Voice, BWFC chairman Tony Galway acknowledged he was aware of the incident and said: "No comment."

The Voice’s Enough is Enough –Get Onside campaign was launched on October 17 and calls for the FA and the UK Government take meaningful action to address institutional racism in football.

It has been backed by well-known figures such as sports agent Ambrose Mendy, MPs Chuka Umunna and Chi Onwurah and race equality campaigner Lord (Herman) Ouseley. There has also been a barrage of tweets and retweets.

Members of the public have also signed The Voice’s online petition at www.voice-online.co.uk. Had enough of racism in football? Back our campaign Enough is Enough - Get Onside.

Sign the petition here

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