RACIAL UNDERTONES CAUSE UNDER 14 GAME TO BE ABANDONED IN FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON
It was only a matter of time before the ugly smear of discrimination reared its head again in grassroots football.
The BAME Football Forum have been talking to Leicester based football clubs who say that during pre-season and from the first official start to the season, racism has already occurred.
An under 14’s team in Leicester removed themselves from the pitch due to the alleged impartial discriminative decisions of the official and one club has a young player end up in hospital.
Leicester Nirvana under 14’s who played their first league game against Green Towers FC on Sunday 27 September, made the brave decision to remove their players from the field of play with approximately 20 minutes of the game remaining.
In a game that was full of goals, saw Nirvana parents left flabbergasted when their player was sent off for spelling his name to the referee. The player was asked his name by the official and continued to say his name followed by the spelling F-R-A-N-C-K.
The young player known as Franck said,
“I was asked my name by the referee, and I told him it was Franck. He did not hear me, so I repeated that my name is Franck and continued to spell it out so that it was clear. The next thing I knew I was being sent off with a straight red card. I asked why, and he said that I had swore at him. I would never swear at an official.”
Richard Thompson, the Nirvana coach for the under 14 team said,
“There were numerous decisions made throughout the game that left us complexed. Our parents started noticing the opposition coach and official giving each other the thumbs up as decisions were made in their favour. We put our faith in the officials’ week in week out and we do not expect to receive such a display of bias. My players were being effected by the subtle racial undertones and we have vowed as a club to empower our young people walk off collectively where we feel the colour of our skin determines the decisions made.”
A Nirvana parent, Beelal Ayoub, went on to say,
“It is incredibly sad and unfortunate that our children have to experience unfairness and for us parents to witness this first-hand. This is heart breaking and It is clear that a lot more needs to be done to make our football community a better place. Many a time in the past I would say we need to respect the referees’ decisions as they are final, and I am sure we all agree and understand this to be the case. However, I never thought a time would come where we would say STOP, we cannot take it any longer. Today is this time when we all say it must stop. We want Changes, we want to be treated the same. We may appear different from the outside, but we have the complete rights to be treated with Respect, Dignity and Fairness in every aspect.”
A statement from Nirvana read,
“We fully support the decision to remove our young players and to protect them from further elements of discrimination. The safeguarding of young players is paramount. We understand that decisions made on the pitch are subjective, however we would still expect a level playing field. The parents that were present at the game have all come forward with concerns over the mistreatment of their players and would like something positive to come out of such a negative experience; suggesting an open discussion with officials or additional equality and diversity training for referees. We have reported our concerns to the Leicestershire and Rutland County FA and await to see what actions will be taken.”