Sporting codes urged to crack down on racial abuse

By Kris Shannon, Rebecca Quilliam

Paul Ifill in action against Adelaide. Photo / Getty Images
Paul Ifill in action against Adelaide. Photo / Getty Images

The Race Relations Commissioner is urging sporting codes to crack down on racial abuse against players after Phoenix striker Paul Ifill was reportedly called a derogatory name during a match in Adelaide at the weekend.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said racial abuse was unfortunately not uncommon among players and spectators in many parts of the world, and there had been instances here as well.

"I am sorry that a Phoenix player has, apparently, experienced such abuse in Australia and I commend him for reporting it.

"It is incumbent on the sports code in every case to take the complaint seriously and to take whatever action they can to deter people from such behaviour.''

Ifill, an English-born Barbados international, took to Twitter following Sunday's game against Adelaide United to voice his frustrations over the incident, and the Phoenix yesterday confirmed they had formally approached Football Federation Australia (FFA) to ensure the matter was fully probed.

A spectator at Hindmarsh Stadium was heard to call Ifill a derogatory racial term after he was substituted in the 61st minute of the 3-1 loss, the Australian Associated Press reported.

Adelaide United FC said it did not condone the reported spectator behaviour.

"The club is assisting stadium management and Football Federation Australia with its investigation and will support any sanction imposed on the guilty party,'' the club said in a statement.

"Adelaide United FC conveys its concerns to Paul Ifill, as this incident does not reflect views or expectations of Adelaide United FC or any Hyundai A-League club.''

Ifill had no comment today, saying he was instructed by FFA not to speak to the media.

An Adelaide police spokesman said a complaint had not been made with them about the incident.

Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome yesterday would not comment on the nature of the abuse but said the club were treating the allegations very seriously.

- APNZ

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