Andy Hunter on 6 December 2017
Liverpool are to make an official complaint to Uefa after Rhian Brewster was allegedly racially abused during the Youth League game with Spartak Moscow on Wednesday.
Brewster, the Golden Boot winner at the Under-17 World Cup in October, was incensed after he was targeted by a Spartak defender in Liverpool’s 2-0 victory and had to be dragged away by team-mates and staff on the final whistle. The 17-year-old reported the alleged offence to the referee Mohammed al-Hakim during the game and he passed the details to the fourth official at Prenton Park.
It is the second successive game against Spartak that has ended with allegations of racist abuse towards a Liverpool player. At Spartak’s academy stadium in September the Nigeria-born forward Bobby Adekanye was subjected to racist chants and gestures from fans of the Russian club.
Spartak were found guilty after an investigation by Uefa but, in keeping with its oft-criticised stance towards racism in the game, European football’s governing body only ordered the club to close at least 500 seats for their next Uefa Youth League game at the academy.
Asked about Brewster’s treatment after the game on Wednesday, the Liverpool coach Steven Gerrard said: “It’s difficult for me to comment on it right now. It’s something that the club will look into and deal with. I’d rather talk about Rhian Brewster’s performance. I don’t want to take any gloss off that because he was superb.”
Kick It Out sent out a stinging response to the alleged abuse, pointing the finger at Uefa for its lack of action on the issue.
Its statement read: “Less than two months ago, Spartak Moscow supporters were found guilty of racially abusing Liverpool’s Bobby Adenkanye, however it is clear that Uefa’s punishment of a partial stadium closure was far from sufficient to protect Liverpool’s players. Kick It Out has worked closely with Liverpool over the past two years to offer support regarding on-field incidents of discrimination, and believes the club has been let down by Uefa in their response.
“Kick It Out expects a swift investigation by Uefa. Should the Spartak Moscow player be found guilty, the club must receive a far stronger punishment if Europe’s governing body is truly serious about ensuring that football is an ‘#EqualGame’. It is also extremely concerning to this organisation that yet another incident has taken place involving a Russian club, particularly ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
“Players and supporters have been told on several occasions by the Russian Football Association that racism is not a serious problem in Russian football. However, incidents such as these undermine any confidence black and minority ethnic footballers or supporters will have in their ability to attend the World Cup in Russia without suffering racial abuse.”