HATTERS: RACISM CLAIMS ARE NOT PROVEN

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Chris Hughes

LU­TON have found no ev­i­dence of racist com­ments be­ing made dur­ing their mid­week match against Ac­cring­ton fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to a club state­ment.

The Hatters have been as­sist­ing Bed­ford­shire Po­lice – whose own in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­tinue – but the club’s en­quiries have con­cluded there was no ev­i­dence to back up ei­ther of the two ac­cu­sa­tions.

In a state­ment, Lu­ton said the first in­ci­dent was re­ported to the club, po­lice and stew­ards by a vis­it­ing jour­nal­ist – who be­lieved he had heard a home sup­porter us­ing a racist term in re­la­tion to one of Ac­cring­ton’s play­ers dur­ing the hosts’ 4-1 win at Ke­nil­worth Road.

As a re­sult, club of­fi­cials in­ter­viewed a num­ber of sup­port­ers, in­vited other fans in and around the press box to com­ment, and lis­tened care­fully to au­dio cov­er­age while li­ais­ing with the po­lice.

Af­ter in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the club re­leased a state­ment re­gard­ing the in­ci­dent, read­ing: “The club has found no ev­i­dence to back up the ac­cu­sa­tions and we await po­lice ad­vice be­fore con­clu­sion.

“How­ever, we will need to dis­cuss the mat­ter with an el­derly gen­tle­man sup­porter about us­ing bad lan­guage – which was not racist – when he was in the sta­dium.”

The sec­ond in­ci­dent de­vel­oped from a so­cial me­dia post by a spec­ta­tor in the away sec­tion, which ac­cused Lu­ton sup­port­ers of racist chants.

The club did not re­ceive a di­rect com­plaint but again in­ves­ti­gated the in­ci­dent and came to a sim­i­lar con­clu­sion.

The state­ment said: “The club has found no ev­i­dence to back up the ac­cu­sa­tions and we await po­lice ad­vice be­fore con­clu­sion.”

On both in­ci­dents, it added: “The fac­tual ev­i­dence re­mains that of 8,500 peo­ple in the sta­dium, three peo­ple claim to have heard racist re­marks – a BBC Ra­dio Lan­cashire com­men­ta­tor, an Ac­cring­ton Stan­ley di­rec­tor who was co-com­men­tat­ing with him, and a BBC as­sis­tant pro­ducer in the Oak Road Stand with away sup­port­ers. We would like to re­it­er­ate the club’s stance that no form of discrimination is ac­cept­able in foot­ball, or so­ci­ety as a whole.”

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