Following the conclusion of The Football Association’s (FA) investigation into serious allegations of racist and discriminatory behaviour during and after the FA Cup First Qualifying Round replay between Hitchin Town and Haringey Borough on 4 September, Kick It Out has released a statement.
Following the FA Cup fixture between Hitchin Town and Haringey Borough on 4 September, Kick It Out were made aware of allegations that a Hitchin supporter had racially abused Haringey Borough players during the game.
The organisation was also made aware that after the fixture, in the car park of the stadium, a Hitchin Town supporter subjected the pregnant wife of a Haringey player and her sister to aggressive behaviour, racial abuse and discriminatory remarks regarding the race of the unborn child.
As part of the Kick It Out’s role as a third-party reporting bureau, the organisation reported the incident to The FA for investigation.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, despite detailed descriptions provided of the perpetrators, The FA noted that Hitchin have been unable to identify the individuals or groups involved in the racist behaviour, therefore the case now been closed.
Kick It Out is deeply saddened with the outcome of this investigation. With just over 200 spectators at the match, the organisation believes it is unacceptable that the perpetrators could not be identified and punished appropriately.
Racially abusive and threatening behaviour towards individuals attending a football match to support their loved ones at any level is completely unacceptable, and this incident is indicative of wider issues surrounding discrimination in grassroots football.
Grassroots is a fundamental part of the English game, and The FA and County FAs have a duty to ensure it remains an inclusive and welcoming environment by protecting all its participants from any form of discrimination.
However, incidents in which perpetrators are not brought to justice severely damages the confidence of victims, Kick It Out and the wider public in the ability of the governing bodies to safeguard the wellbeing of the millions who take part in football across England every week.
Kick It Out is currently seeking further information to identify the supporters involved in the incident at Hitchin Town.
If you have any information on the alleged incident, or any other discrimination incident at grassroots level, you can contact Kick It Out by the following methods:
- Downloading the Kick It Out reporting app on the App Store or Google Play.
- Call Kick It Out’s freephone number (0800 169 9414).
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Use Kick It Out’s online reporting form on www.kickitout.org.
Anyone reporting an incident of discrimination is able to remain anonymous.