Leeds player ‘target of race abuse’ from Millwall fans

Millwall Football Club said it was “appalled” by footage which appears to show supporters racially abusing a Leeds player during a match earlier this season.

Leeds United's El Hadji Diouf.
Leeds United's El Hadji Diouf.

It has urged Sky Sports News – which aired the scenes omn Monday night – to pass the clips to police and has promised to ban any individuals for life if they are found guilty.

The footage appears to show fans hurling insults at Leeds forward and Senegal international El-Hadji Diouf during a clash between the two clubs in November.

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Millwall has vowed to reopen an investigation into allegations of racial abuse which initially emerged online.

Lions chief executive Andy Ambler said: “Like all Millwall fans and football fans generally, we’re appalled by the footage we’ve seen.” He added: “Clearly that behaviour is unacceptable in any football ground in the country and at Millwall we will ban the individuals for life and we hope that Sky will pass the footage to the police so that further action can be taken.

“Sadly racism exists in our society and certain individuals want to bring it into football grounds. It’s down to us in football do to more.

“We think football is the solution to the problem and the work that we do will continue and we need to continue it. That day against Leeds obviously there was an allegation of abuse made online initially. We investigated it straight away. We interviewed stewards, police, players, we looked at the TV footage too as it was live on Sky.

“After speaking to the player who had the alleged abuse at him during the day, he said that he heard no abuse on the day so that was basically at that point the end of the investigation – although we’re going to open it again now.”

The alleged episode took place during an npower Championship match at Millwall’s stadium, the Den, in south-east London.Bolton forward Marvin Sordell has previously made allegations of racial abuse towards Millwall’s fans. A banner stating “Sordell is a ****” was unfurled at a later game which came in the wake of his claims, while a 13-year-old boy was banned from the ground.

Sordell, 21, who represented Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics, said: “We can’t be silent about it. We need to make people aware that there is a problem going on and only when people are aware of the problem can it be sorted out.”

David Bernstein, the FA chairman, is treating allegations with the utmost importance, telling Sky Sports News: “These issues bother me intensely. They have become top of my agenda in terms of moving these things on and combating these things. ”

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service takes any allegation of racist chanting and/or behaviour very seriously. If any matters are brought to our attention they will of course be thoroughly investigated as part of Operation Arrowtip, which is the Metropolitan Police Service’s ongoing football operation to challenge individuals or groups engaged in football related disorder or criminality.”