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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Police investigate Liverpool FC after young black football star breaks down in tears after 'racist abuse from crowd'

Witnesses claim the Tom Adeyemi was called 'a f****** black b******'

By David Gerges and Damien Gayle

Adeyemi, left, is consoled by a team-mate after being racially abused by fans

Racism in football reared its ugly head again last night as a young soccer star was so badly abused by the crowd in an FA Cup match that he broke down in tears.

Oldham defender Tom Adeyemi became upset after becoming the target of a section of the crowd at the famous Kop end at Anfield during Liverpool's tie with Oldham.

Police are investigating after fans allegedly called the youngster 'a f****** black b******' during their team's 5-1 victory over their lower league opposition.

It is understood that Adeyemi, 20, has given a statement to police in which he claimed he was the victim of a racist attack.

The event will undoubtedly mar the club's reputation following the recent suspension handed out to striker Luis Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

And football is still reeling from the fact that England captain John Terry, meanwhile, is to face trial accused of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's defeat at Loftus Road earlier in the season.

Race is also high on the political agenda, with this week seeing the jailing of two thugs, Gary Dobson and David Norris, for the murder of young black teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 in Eltham, South-East London.

It was near the end of the FA Cup 3rd round match at Anfield that last night's ugly incident took place.

Abuse seemed to emanate from the famous Kop end of the ground where, according to witnesses, fans were seen wearing Luis Suárez T-shirts and brandishing scarves bearing the player's name.

Adeyemi turned to confront his abuser, becoming visibly upset. Players from both sides intervened with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and striker Dirk Kuyt among those attempting to reassure the Oldham player.

As players from both teams tried to calm down Adeyemi, fans in Liverpool's stands then began singing the name of Suárez, upsetting the young player even more. He appeared to be in tears as he lifted his shirt to wipe his face.

A witness who gave evidence to Liverpool officials and the police was quoted by the Guardian as saying: 'I was to the right of the Kop and the No11 turned to walk away after a tackle.

'I heard a single voice shout, "You f****** black *******." He spun round with shock on his face and started pointing at the crowd, from where the shout had come.'

Adeyemi, centre, is restrained by Dirk Kuyt, left and match referee after receiving a tirade of racial abuse from the Anfield crowd

Adeyemi is surrounded by players from both teams and the referee as they try to calm him down after the incident

Liverpool confirmed an incident took place and said investigations were continuing.

'An incident occurred in the second half of the match which is now being investigated by both the club and the police,' said a statement.

'We will continue to work with the police to establish the details of what actually happened and will make a further statement in due course.'

Local police have released a statement, adding: ‘Merseyside Police can confirm that no one has been arrested this evening (Friday, 6 January) on suspicion of racially aggravated behaviour during tonight's FA Cup fixture at Anfield.

‘However, the Force and Liverpool Football Club are investigating following an incident that occurred during the second half of the game.

‘The aim of the investigation is to establish the full circumstances surrounding the incident to ascertain if any action needs to be taken.’

A section of the crowd at Liverpool's Kop end appear to taunt Adeyemi. It is not known which Liverpool fans caused the player make his complaint of racial abuse

As Adeyemi told the referee about the incident, some fans in Liverpool's Kop end began singing the name of Luis Suarez, who was censured by the FA for racism last month

Today football fans around the world were expressing their disgust with the events at the match on Twitter.

Sai Adithya wrote: 'The way the #LFC fans started singing Luis Suarez after abusing Adeyemi is plain disgraceful!'

Meanwhile, Paul Dunn was able to turn the abuse into a dark joke that reflected the bad feelings over Liverpool's handling of the case involving Suarez.

He wrote: 'Liverpool FC officials are desperate to identify the fans who racially abused Tom Adeyemi, so they know which names to print on the t-shirts.'

Others took the abuse, coming so soon after the Suarez scandal, as evidence that Liverpool was a 'racist football team'.

South African football fan Kabelo MKhonto wrote: 'Liverpool is a racist football team fi[r]st they abused Patrice Evra now Tom Adeyemi who was visibly upset and tearful...'

And back in the UK Patrick McCafferty from Doncaster tweeted: 'Shocking abuse aimed at Tom Adeyemi last night. LFC should be embarrassed and ashamed. Racists WILL WALK ALONE. Horrible club and fans.'

Oldham manager Paul Dickov said he had not spoken to the player about the incident, but accepted something had upset him.

'From my point of view I have not spoken to Tom about it but I know the kid and something has been said,' he said.

Indignation: Adeyemi points into the crowd at where he believed he heard the racist abuse

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, 2nd left, offers Adeyemi, right, his reassurance after the Oldham players was abused by the home crowd

The Scot continued: 'He is a placid boy, a kid who has been well-educated with a fantastic temperament and has been with us since the end of August and I've never seen him raise his voice.

'For him to react like that it is obvious something has been said but what has been said I don't know because I've not had a chance [to ask] - I was too busy praising my players.

'He is fine now. He has calmed down. He is a laid-back kid who just gets on with business.

'Our players went and calmed him down and the Liverpool players did as well, which was fantastic and is why they are top professionals.

'I have been told the police are investigating it but that is all I know.' Born and raised in Norwich, Adeyemi is on loan to Oldham Athletic from Norwich City, who he signed for in 2008, aged 17.

He made his debut for Norwich in 2009, and in 2010 was named Championship Manager Apprentice Of The Year at the Football League Awards.

Oldham boss Paul Dickov, left, is flanked by police and the fourth official during the clash

All eyes will be on the reaction of Liverpool, especially after the Suarez saga.

The Uruguayan was accused of calling the French international 'negrita' - literally translated as 'black' more than ten times during their 1-1 draw at Anfield.

He has since been banned for eight weeks and eventually apologised, but did not say sorry to the player himself.

Distastefully, Liverpool players showed solidarity for their team-mate by wearing Luis Suarez T-shirts after he was charged.

Racism is high on the political and social agenda at the moment after Labour MP Diane Abbott found herself enmired in a race row over comments on Twitter suggesting white people like to play 'divide and rule', apparently referring to colonialism.

Criticism of the Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP deepened after she yesterday suggested that taxi drivers were racist and would not stop for black people.



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