• The Championship

Millwall to look into racism claim

ESPN staff
February 12, 2013 « Wenger rallies Arsenal for top-four fight | Chartbeat test »
Leeds United's El-Hadji Diouf remonstrates with referee Mark Halsey © Getty Images
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Millwall will reopen an investigation into allegations of racist abuse after Sky Sports footage showed Leeds' El-Hadji Diouf being targeted by their fans.

The south London club released a statement saying they are "shocked and appalled" by the behaviour and have promised to assist in identifying the individuals concerned with a view to the strongest possible action being taken.

The clip was used as part of a report by the broadcaster into racism within football, and Millwall have asked for it to be handed to police in order to help in efforts to take further action against the fans in question.

Following the report, Millwall chief executive Andy Ambler said: "Like all Millwall fans and football fans generally, we're appalled by the footage we've seen.

"Clearly that behaviour is unacceptable in any football ground in the country and at Millwall we will ban the individuals for life and we hope that Sky will pass the footage to the police so that further action can be taken.

"Sadly racism exists in our society and certain individuals want to bring it into football grounds. It's down to us in football do to more.

"We think football is the solution to the problem and the work that we do will continue and we need to continue it.

"That day against Leeds obviously there was an allegation of abuse made online initially. We investigated it straight away. We interviewed stewards, police, players, we looked at the TV footage too as it was live on Sky.

"After speaking to the player who had the alleged abuse at him during the day, he said that he heard no abuse on the day so that was basically at that point the end of the investigation - although we're going to open it again now."

FA chairman David Bernstein was also upset by the incident and said putting a stop to racist abuse in football stadia was an issue at the top of his agenda.

"These issues bother me intensely," he said. "They have become top of my agenda in terms of moving these things on and combatting these things. The awareness of it could not be higher."

Bolton striker Marvin Sordell, who claimed he was taunted by Millwall fans during their Championship game in October, reiterated the importance of speaking out against examples of racism in football.

"We're a developed, multi-cultural society," Sordell said. "It's surprising it can still go on - but it doesn't exactly shock me.

"We can't be silent about it. We need to make people aware that there is a problem going on and only when people are aware of the problem can it be sorted out.

"As long as people are brave enough I'd say to come out and say exactly what's happened to them then I think we'll be going in the right direction because the first thing that needs to happen is that we can't be silent about it."

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