In yet another incident of racism in football, players of Haringey Borough abandoned their FA Cup qualifier against Yeovil Town on Saturday evening following multiple instances of racist behavior. Reportedly, fans of Yeovil Town hurled racist insults at Haringey goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and defender Coby Rowe, sparking the mass walk-off by the home team.
The match was abandoned in the 64th minute after Borough manager, Tom Loizou approached the referee to report the incidents of the goalkeeper being abused and bottles thrown at him. Loizou directed his players to walk off the field. After some discussion, the Yeovil players walked off the pitch in solidarity. The match was called off after a discussion with the respective authorities.
"Thank you to everybody out there for your support. There is absolutely no place for racism in football and Tom Loizou and the Boro players decided to leave the pitch as a result of the abuse they were subjected to," said Borough. The club also stated that it was just a small section of the Yeovil supporters who were involved in the incident.
Speaking about the incident, Yeovil Town said that the club stands against racism and will cooperate with investigations in the incident. "Yeovil Town FC will be cooperating with the authorities and our friends at Haringey Borough FC regarding events leading up to today’s fixture not being completed. We are aware that there are allegations that racist comments were made in the crowd and this allegation will be a key part of any investigation. Irrespective of the outcome of any investigations, we would like to make it clear that the club will not accept racism or discrimination in any form. The club will be making no further comment until the current investigations are completed," Yeovil Town responded to the incident with a statement on their website.
The Football Association in a statement on Twitter said that they were deeply concerned about the incident and reiterated that there is no room for racism in football.
There is no room for discrimination in our game and we are working with the match officials and the relevant authorities, as a matter of urgency, to fully establish the facts and take the appropriate steps.— The FA (@FA) October 19, 2019
The incident comes a few days after England's players were subjected to multiple instances of racism in a EURO 2020 qualifier against Bulgaria. The English players did not walk off the pitch and decided to play the game and take a stand in a different manner. However, the match was interrupted twice with an announcement warning those involved in the incident. England went on to beat Bulgaria 6-0 and after the match, Bulgarian coach Krasimir Balakov said that he had not heard any racist chants. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) said that that they would investigate the incident. However, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov took matters in his own hands after his country received severe backlash for the incident. He asked the head of the Bulgarian Football Union, Borislav Mikhailov to resign post the incident after which Mikhailov, and reportedly the rest of the board of the Union resigned. Balakov too resigned following the incident.
On Saturday, the Premier League, in collaboration with various other associations launched the 'No Room For Racism' campaign for the ongoing Gameweek 9, and Gameweek 10. In a statement on the campaign, the Premier League said, "It will emphasise that racist conduct is not tolerated and will urge supporters to take action, saying: If you see it, report it'."