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Children face ‘racial abuse’ on the pitch

CLUB BADGE: AFC Wembley's crest

CHILDREN UNDER the age of 12 were subjected to a “barrage” of racial abuse from their child opponents during a local youth football match, claims a north London team.

AFC Wembley say their Under-12 team suffered insults of a racial nature at a Sunday game against Hillingdon FC on March 3.

It also alleges that the parents and supporters of the west London club pretended not to notice that anything had occurred.

Sources at AFC Wembley claim one of their players, a boy of African heritage, was called a “f***ing black c**t” and an Asian boy was brandished a “brown piece of s**t”.

The alleged abuse meant the children “left the pitch in tears.”

AFC Wembley’s chairman Trevor Hutton confirmed to The Voice that his club had contacted the FA and police about the incident.

“Racism in any form is totally unacceptable. For these children [on the opposition] to be able to demonstrate such racist behaviour means that they are learning this from home which proves that we still have a long way to go,” said Hutton.

“Our children are being subjected to this vile racism as if we were back in the Seventies and Eighties and the effects are equally as traumatising now as it was then.”

Hutton said AFC Wembley was established to combat racism in the sport and is now one of most diverse clubs in London and the southeast of England.

“Our philosophy is all children are equal,” he added.

The incident has also been reported to the Society of Black Lawyers (SBL) by a parent of a child in the AFC Wembley team.

The SBL, chaired by human rights lawyer Peter Herbert, has been a pro-active force in campaigning on the behalf of victims of racism in football.

The legal organisation helped Leicester-based Nirvana FC after their Under 14 team claimed its players had suffered racist abuse in 2012.
Hutton claimed that this is not the first time his players have experienced racism on the field.

His team has now joined forces with SBL, Nirvana FC, Black and Asian Coaches Association (BACA) and The Voice in the Race for Football campaign, which held its first roadshow on March 20 at the Leicester African-Caribbean Centre.

BACA’s chair, Colin King, said: “This is the type of abuse my members have been reporting to the FA on a regular basis.

“It is unacceptable for our young people to be treated in this way and for referees and linesman not to protect them. We would expect the team to be expelled from the league if it is found they have colluded with this behaviour.”

David Neita, a SBL barrister who has been working closely on the issue of race, said: “The treatment of our children playing football at grass roots level constitutes some of the worst human rights abuse in the UK.

“We are talking about our children being racially abused while their parents stand by and watch which is an absolute disgrace.”

When contacted by The Voice, Hillingdon’s Under 12 assistant manager Nick Guyan said he was not aware of the incident.

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