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National League taking more action to kick out racists

National League bosses are looking at finding more ways to kick out racists after the shameful scenes that marred Dover Athletic’s weekend win at Hartlepool United.

After “utterly” condemning the trouble at Victoria Park following allegations of racist abuse directed at a number of players, they are vowing to step up efforts in Non-League’s top flight.

In a fresh bid to stamp out the abuse of players, staff and officials, the competition will work with clubs and industry stakeholders in the days ahead to assess the need for further preventative action.

Players from both sides were allegedly subjected to racist abuse on Saturday following a controversial penalty for Dover during their 2-0 win.

Pools say they will be asking fans to stand up to racism on Tuesday night when they host Chesterfield by holding up special cards declaring “Love Pools, Hate Racism”.

Sky Sports host and Pools fan Jeff Stelling has also labelled any fans found to be involved as “scum who have disgraced us”.

The National League statement read: “Following the reports of supporters directing racial abuse at players at a match between Hartlepool United and Dover Athletic this weekend, the National League wishes to voice its utter condemnation of the behaviour of the alleged perpetrators.

“The League understands that a disciplinary process will be commenced by The Football Association and that investigations are being conducted by Cleveland Police.

“For its own part, The National League will remind its member clubs of the protocol for dealing with abuse aimed at players, managers or match officials and consult with industry stakeholders to assess the need for further preventative action.”

With investigations by the police and footballing authorities continuing into the allegations tainting the club’s reputation, Hartlepool are determined to show that action speaks louder than words.

Their statement read: “Following events at the weekend, the club will continue to focus on action rather than words and will make substantive statements once we have completed discussions with the police and handed over all appropriate evidence.

“We have spoken with the squad and liaised with anti-racism charities to assist us in taking the appropriate action to support the players and raise awareness.

“For Tuesday night’s game we are asking all Poolies to get behind us in taking a stand against racism and will be issuing special cards to be held up declaring “Love Pools, Hate Racism”.

“We are grateful that various supporters’ groups have offered to contribute towards the production and distribution of these, and hope that as many Pools fans as possible will get behind a simple demonstration to show the players and the public what we are really about.

“We will make communicate more once further action has been taken. As [manager] Craig Hignett declared on Saturday – if you attack one person, you attack us all.”

Cleveland Police reported on Monday that more arrests are likely after a 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order and later released under investigation while inquiries continue. A 60-year old man was also reported for summons after allegedly encroaching the pitch during the game.

A police statement read: “Cleveland Police continues to work with managers and players from both clubs as our inquiries continue and officers expect to identify more people in relation to the alleged racist incidents and disorder.

“We would reiterate that racist behaviour and other disorder at football matches is completely unacceptable and we work with football clubs across the UK, as well as the wider community, on this issue.

“The force will use all available tools including football banning orders to deal robustly with the small minority who persist in taking part in deal with the minority who take part in this behaviour.”

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