FA Cup qualifying game abandoned due to alleged racism

19 October 2019, 19:18

Haringey Borough FC left the field due to alleged racism
Haringey Borough FC left the field due to alleged racism. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The FA Cup fourth-qualifying-round tie between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abandoned after the home team left the field amid accusations of "disgusting" racism.

Haringey's manager decided to take his players off the pitch on the 64-minute mark following allegations that a number of them were racially abused.

After going 1-0 down to Yeovil, the home side walked off the pitch as their Cameroonian goalkeeper, Valery Pajetat, was reportedly spat at and hit by an object thrown from the stands.

Haringey defender Coby Rowe was then allegedly racially abused, according to manager Tom Loizou, who said "there was no way I could let him continue."

"If we get punished and thrown out, I don't care," he said.

"It's very distressing. The abuse a few of my players got was disgusting ... I have not done it for any other reason than looking into my players' faces and seeing how distraught they were.

"Yeovil's players and manager were different class. Their team tried to calm their supporters down, they tried their best and they supported us - they said 'if you're walking off we're walking off with you'."

Haringey manager Tom Loizou took his players off the pitch after 64 minutes
Haringey manager Tom Loizou took his players off the pitch after 64 minutes. Picture: PA

Yeovil Town manager Darren Sarll said his side would "stand together" with Haringey.

"I want Haringey and our football club to know we don't condone anything of that nature, if there was anything of that nature," he added.

Haringey Borough's official Twitter account said: "Sorry for the late update but wanted to make sure we gave correct information."

"Game has been abandoned following racial abuse. Horrendous afternoon. It must be said that 99.9% of @YTFC fans are also disgusted by what's happened as much as we are. One club, one community."

Haringey fan Ben James was at the game but was stood at the opposite end to where the alleged abuse came from.

He said: "It all began when the referee gave Yeovil a penalty. It seemed like their fans were trying to wind up the Haringey goalie by shaking the net and the like.

"Valery went towards their fans and seemed to have a bit of a conversation before coming away as if he'd been hit with something. The referee then removed what looked like a bottle or a can.

"There was a bit of a pause while the referee dealt with what went on and players from both sides tried to quell what had gone on."

Mr James said Loizou marched straight on to the pitch to withdraw his players after the penalty was taken with home players looking "pretty agitated" and Rowe "having to be held back."

He continued: "I'm a Haringey fan, have been coming to games for a couple of years. They came back on (both Yeovil and Haringey players) to applaud the fans but that was it.

"But the game is abandoned. There were a few stewards but the police have been called since and are here now."

The two sides later returned to the pitch together in a "show of solidarity."

The Football Association said it was "deeply concerned" about the allegation of discrimination at the FA Cup tie and had launched an investigation into the incident.

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out offered its "full support" to the Cameroonian goalkeeper.

A statement released on Twitter said: "Kick It Out has informed The FA and will support the club in identifying the offender(s) to ensure appropriate action is taken and strong punishment issued."

Saturday's alleged incident comes just five days after the England match against Bulgaria was almost abandoned due to monkey chants and Nazi salutes being seen among Bulgarian fans.