Racial abuse allegations mar match22 November 2004

The Blackburn Rovers verse Birmingham match in the English Premier League has been marred by allegations of racist abuse directed at Dwight Yorke. The incident happened as Dwight Yorke, a former Blackburn player, was warming up prior to the match. Two spectators taunted Yorke from the corner of the stand. Dwight went over to confront the spectators, after which, one of them was ejected from the ground for making obscene hand gestures. It is believed that these spectators may have racially abused Dwight.

This latest incident follows the recent uproar over England’s abuse whilst in Spain. Unlike Spain, this incident only involved two individuals who were immediately dealt with. The FA immediately moved to investigate the issue, with both clubs keen to support the investigations

Managing director Karren Brady summed up Birmingham’s attitude,
“Hopefully there will be a criminal investigation because racism is absolutely awful and everyone wants to stamp it out of the game totally. It was a very small minority but, regardless of how small it is, it is incredibly upsetting for a player and something needs to be done about it.”

Blackburn football club have previously had an excellent record of anti-racist work, collaborating with UK FARE partner Kick It Out on many Action Week activities.

Piara Powar, of FARE partner Kick It Out, said,
”Effective stewarding plans to ensure a safer and more tolerant environment inside stadia are in place at most professional clubs across the country. All clubs should have in operation clear processes to deal with racial abuse. In addition, a culture of self- policing by fans has developed in which individual acts of racism are challenged.

Blackburn Rovers have a very good record of tackling abuse of this kind and in reaching out to local ethnic minority communities in the area. We are confident the right action will be taken to deal with the perpetrators of last night’s abuse.”