Athletic faces racism charge

PARKGATE V ARMTHORPE  Leo Fortune-West makes his debut for Armthorpe.     6 November 2010
PARKGATE V ARMTHORPE Leo Fortune-West makes his debut for Armthorpe. 6 November 2010

SCARBOROUGH Athletic FC are facing a racism charge after a supporter allegedly hurled abuse at one of the players at a recent home game.

The target is understood to have been Leo Fortune-West, who plays for Armthorpe Welfare, and the alleged outburst was reported by one of the linesmen.

However club chairman, David Holland, said they had been unable to identify the alleged perpetrator and were currently seeking professional advice on the matter.

In a statement he said: “Scarborough Athletic FC is surprised and disappointed to learn that it has been reported by match officials for an alleged incident of racial abuse by a fan at its home league game against Armthorpe Welfare on Saturday, April 14.

“On this occasion we understand the assistant referee overheard a single allegedly racist taunt from the crowd of 320 and the club has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E20; a club charge for misconduct.

“Neither the referee nor his assistant was able to identify the source of the taunt, although we moved a steward closer to the alleged incident area following advice from the assistant.

“It is difficult at this time for us to challenge the allegation or to confirm its context based on the evidence. Our internal enquiries are continuing, and we are speaking to Armthorpe Welfare, to some of our fans and club officials and to the player allegedly targeted; we are also taking advice over what more we could have done in the circumstances, and what our representation to the North Riding County FA (NRCFA) should therefore be.”

He added that the club acknowledged its responsibility for the conduct of its supporters, and its officials always try to act in line with NRCFA advice. He said: “We endeavour to raise awareness of the FA’s Respect Initiative amongst everyone connected with the club and I can tell you that our fans whom we hold in the highest regard will be horrified by this allegation.”

No date for any hearing has yet been set by the NRCFA.