By 90Min
April 10, 2019

Anti-abuse football organisation Kick It Out have released a statement condemning the Football Association's decision to fine a non-league side for walking off the pitch after being subject to racist abuse.

Padiham FC were fined £165 for abandoning a game against Congleton Town in October 2018 after goalkeeper Tony Aghayere was allegedly racially abused. By contract, Congleton were fined just £160 for their role in the incident, despite it being their supporters who were accused of racism.

In a post on their official website, Kick It Out challenged the FA to review their rules and questioned how victims of abuse can face harsher punishments.

They said: “We are extremely concerned at the continued number of reports coming out of grassroots football, some indicating clubs have been facing fines for standing up to racist abuse received by their players.

“Football is sending out the wrong signal when bigger fines are given to the victims of abuse rather than the alleged perpetrators. We would support The FA reviewing their rules and sanctions in cases of discrimination.

Michael Steele/GettyImages

“Racism and discrimination in professional football has rightly received significant attention this season following a number of high profile incidents, but we must not ignore the amateur game. 

Almost two million people play FA-affiliated football on a regular basis, with a significant representation from BAME communities, but the public perception is that there is a lack of protection for BAME players within the grassroots game.

“Grassroots footballers across the country are losing patience with a system that is failing to support them.

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“The FA and County FAs affirm they understand the devastating effect racist and discriminatory abuse has on its victims, but we call on them to demonstrate that with decisive action.

“That means:

  • Better training and support for referees to respond in the correct manner when an incident happens on their pitch.
  • Swifter and more transparent disciplinary processes.
  • Robust, effective sanctions, as well as a vastly expanded use of education sessions, for those found guilty of discriminatory abuse.
  • Ensuring victims of abuse are not sanctioned for making decisions to protect their personal wellbeing.

“Kick It Out will continue to support The FA and County FAs in tackling discrimination in the amateur game, whilst always remaining an advocate for the grassroots community.”

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