West Ham have handed evidence to the Metropolitan Police after an investigation into alleged racist comments aimed at Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah on Monday night.
Following the 1-1 draw, a video emerged on social media in which audible slurs directed at the Liverpool forward could be heard.
West Ham and the police announced on Wednesday they would investigate the allegations.
In a statement on Thursday, West Ham said: “After a thorough and immediate investigation following the abhorrent racist comments aimed at Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah on Monday night, West Ham United can confirm that it has handed evidence to the Metropolitan Police.
“The club is unequivocal in its stance – such comment will not be tolerated. There is no place or excuse for this kind of behaviour.”
The alleged comment directed at Salah was condemned by Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini, who said the club “must not allow” such events to occur.
Leading anti-discrimination campaigner Piara Powar – the executive director of the Fare Network – says he is concerned by the number of recent incidents of racism and other forms of discrimination in the game.
Powar said: “The number and frequency of recent incidents in England is quite alarming. Football seems to have a rump of fans who have trouble accepting the diversity of our country.”
“Some fans think they have licence to express publicly what they think privately – to give air to their prejudices and world view in public spaces such as football stadiums.”
“You fuckin Muslim. Fuck off!”
West Ham Football Club supporters can be heard verbally abusing Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah. pic.twitter.com/RswgIh40Qc
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) February 6, 2019
Number of incidents ‘alarming’, says Fare Network director
Piara Powar, the executive director of anti-discrimination charity Fare Network, has said the number of recent incidents of reported racism is “alarming”, and added that closing stadiums may be the logical next step in combating racist comments.
The incident during West Ham’s home game with Liverpool, which led Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini to demand a life ban for the culprits, follows allegations of discriminatory chanting by Chelsea and Millwall supporters in recent months.
“The number and frequency of recent incidents in England is quite alarming,” Powar said. “Football seems to have a rump of fans who have trouble accepting the diversity of our country. I also think it points to the divisions that have opened up in the UK since Brexit.
“I think the FA must get a grip on the problem,” Powar added. “They do a lot of good work but they should use the powers they have to close stadiums and ban and fine clubs. The FA regulations allow for it but these measures are rarely used.” PA