Birmingham and Swansea call in police over alleged racist abuse by fans

Two allegations of racism marred Saturday’s action in the Championship with both Peterborough and Swansea reporting instances of abuse.

Two Birmingham fans were arrested following an allegation of racist abuse aimed at the Peterborough defender Nathan Thompson. The incident is alleged to have occurred during the second half at the Weston Homes Stadium. A complaint of racist abuse from visiting supporters was made to the referee, Jarred Gillett, by Thompson.

Peterborough said in a statement: “We can confirm that two Birmingham City supporters have been arrested following the allegation of racist abuse aimed towards defender Nathan Thompson during the second half.

“Thompson reported the incident straight away to the match official who spoke with the fourth official before the two individuals were identified and detained. The football club condemns any form of discrimination and will work with the authorities.”

Birmingham said in a statement that the club has a “zero-tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination” and that they “will continue to assist the police in their investigations” and would “firmly support the action taken against anyone found guilty of such abhorrent behaviour”.

Swansea reported that defender Rhys Williams was subjected to racist abuse from a home fan during the second half of their match against Luton at Kenilworth Road. The club said they had filed an official report alleging the abuse against Williams, and added that Bedfordshire police and Luton were working to identify the individuals.

The club continued: “Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds because it has no place within football or any walk of life. Rhys has the full backing of everyone at the football club and we are in dialogue with his parent club Liverpool with regards to ensuring the player has all the support he needs.”

Meanwhile, the Kelty Hearts striker Nathan Austin was subjected to racist abuse during his team’s Scottish League Two victory over Albion Rovers. Austin is the second player in Scottish football to report such abuse in consecutive weekends, after Airdrie launched an investigation into a complaint by their player Rico Quitongo.

Austin scored all three goals in Kelty’s 3-0 win at Cliftonhill but tweeted later: “A perfect hat-trick tarnished by an Albion fan calling me a monkey but I guess that’s the world we live in. enjoy your Saturday folks cos I will.”

A Rovers fan group quickly apologised to Austin and distanced themselves from the perpetrator. In a statement on Twitter, the Coatbridge Boys group wrote: “Today one of Kelty Hearts players Nathan Austin was racially abused by a member of our group, since then the person has owned up to it and has been removed from our group, we would (like) to apologise to Nathan and Kelty Hearts, Coatbridge Boys stand against racism.”

Kelty Hearts later issued a statement of their own in response to the abuse, saying “an investigation is under way with our friends from Albion Rovers FC, who gave all at our club a fantastic welcome on our first visit to Cliftonhill.

“Kelty Hearts Football Club shall support all our players and members fully against racism of any kind, we strongly condemn racism and are totally committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.”