Ben Fisher on 20 October 2019
Bristol City are investigating reports that a small group of their supporters engaged in alleged racist chanting towards Luton fans during the Championship match at Kenilworth Road on Saturday.
“We naturally condemn any form of abuse or racist language,” City said in a statement. “We are a family club which celebrates its diversity and inclusivity and will take action against anyone behaving in a racist manner at a Bristol City match who has purchased their ticket or season card through the club, as well as reporting them to the relevant authorities.
“The club are now fully investigating these reports and can assure supporters that appropriate action will be taken. Anyone wanting to report inappropriate behaviour can do so through firstname.lastname@example.org.”
On Saturday Haringey Borough’s FA Cup match against Yeovil was abandoned after the goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and the defender Coby Rowe were allegedly subjected to racial abuse. Last Monday England’s black players were targeted by a section of Bulgaria supporters in a Euro 2020 qualifier that was overshadowed by racist chanting and the game was twice stopped.
Luton said they would support any investigation, adding that their chief executive officer, Gary Sweet, had been in contact with Mark Ashton, his counterpart at City. “Like the Robins, Luton Town are a family club that celebrates diversity and inclusion, and will not accept any discriminatory comments or behaviour at our matches,” said Luton in a statement.
The Bristol City owner Steve Lansdown said anyone found guilty of behaving in a racist manner will be banned from Ashton Gate and also from purchasing tickets for away games. “I am shocked and disappointed to hear of these allegations,” Lansdown said in a statement. “Racial intolerance is not something that we want being associated with our club in any shape or form. I firmly believe that, in no way is it representative of our true supporters or the essence of Bristol City as a family club which celebrates diversity and inclusivity.”
Bedfordshire police has confirmed it is currently investigating two allegations of racist and indecent chanting. “Officers are following lines of enquiry to establish events surrounding the incidents,” read a statement. “We work in partnership with Luton Town Football Club and allegations such as this will be investigated appropriately to ensure the sport is family-friendly and accessible to all.”