Peterborough club condemn racist abuse aimed at their players - including some who play in an under seven side

FC Peterborough adult first team earlier this season. Imtiaz Ali is back row, far right.
FC Peterborough adult first team earlier this season. Imtiaz Ali is back row, far right.
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FC Peterborough have condemned the amount of racist abuse aimed at their players, including some who play in an under seven side.

The Peterborough League and Peterborough and District Junior Alliance club claim their complaints fall on deaf ears far too often.

Those claims include:

An under 11 match when opposition players mimicked planes being crashed into buildings in an apparent reference to the 9/11 bombings.

An under 10 match when an FC Peterborough junior player was punched by an opposition team player which led to a red card. The referee, the FC Peterborough players and parents were then abused by parents from the opposition club. This included racist abuse.

One FC Peterborough junior side being described as ‘a pack of dogs’.

Adult players regularly suffering comments such as ‘we will deport all of you’, ‘you all look the same’, ‘have you been eating curry, you stinking Paki’?

FC Peterborough first team manager and head of football operations Imtiaz Ali said: “Every other week, one of our 11/12 teams reports an incident of racial abuse.

“Most teams are good and most matches pass without a problem, but it’s still happening far too often.

“We submit regular reports to county FAs and leagues, but we don’t see any action being taken to make it stop.

“We have reported the problems to the national FA, but they automatically kick it back to the county FAs To date we feel like we’ve been let down by the junior and adult leagues and by the FAs.

“It’s incremental, accumulative and it’s persistent and consistent.

“Going public is like a last resort for us. Something needs to be done, but before anything is done we need to recognise we have a problem.

“We accept our own disciplinary issues, but we are currently working with the Northants FA to address those. As much as we are aware the FA is committed to kicking racism out of football, we don’t feel enough has been done to support clubs at grassroots level that have to deal with thes kind of incidents.

“Earlier this season my captain, one of the mildest men I know, came charging up to me in a rage saying an opponent has just whispered in his ear about ‘getting deported’. It’s very disturbing to hear things like this.

“It’s worse at junior level. I’ve heard of our under seven team being abused by parents, of an under 11 team mimicking planes being flown into buildings.

“I’ve heard of young players being described as a ‘pack of dogs.’

Northants FA chief executive Gary Biddulph issued a statement to the Peterborough Telegraph today (November 28). He said: “Northamptonshire FA have asked our own Inclusion Advisory Group Chairman to liaise and to provide support, assurance and assistance to FC Peterborough in combating discrimination in football.

“We have arranged to meet the club this week.”

Peterborough League secretary Wendy Newey said: “As a league we are appalled to hear such comments and we take them very seriously, but reports of this nature are passed automatically to the relevant county FA.

“I would urge all clubs and players to instantly report all incidences of racist abuse.”

A Peterborough & District Junior Alliance spokesperson said: “We take all complaints very seriously and we pass them immediately to the FA when appropriate. We are a ‘Respect’ League and take our commitments very seriously.”

A ‘Respect’ League is an national FA initiative designed to supply a safe environment to play football.

FC Peterborough have reported two incidents to the police. The club say one was abandoned because of ‘insufficient evidence to charge the accused’, the second is ‘ongoing.’

Tell Mama, an organisation set up to counter anti-Muslim hate and Islamaphobia, as well as the Muslim Council of Britain are offering support to the club.