Hartlepool United are looking forward to receiving a “fair hearing” from the Football Association after being with charged with misconduct following an allegation of racist abuse during their National League match against Dover Athletic.
Pools are alleged to have failed to ensure their spectators conducted themselves in an orderly fashion after Athletic’s Inih Effiong was reportedly targeted by a group of fans during his side’s 2-0 win on 21 September.
Pools – who have until Tuesday 5 November to respond to the charge – released a statement on Tuesday vowing to continue to fight racism in all forms.
The club – who supported an anti-racism demonstration by fans at their next home game after Dover against Chesterfield – say they are determined to “set the example on how to respond to matters such as this.”
The statement read: “We will continue to explore all avenues of education and improvement in that regard.
“In previous statements, we’ve made clear our condemnation of individuals’ behaviour during the fixture and have continued to underline our position on discrimination or abuse of any kind through our actions rather than words.
“Our aim has been to set the example on how to respond to matters such as this and we will continue to explore all avenues of education and improvement in that regard. We look forward to a fair hearing with The FA.”
Former Hartlepool boss Craig Hignett and Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler later confirmed they discussed taking their teams off when the match was held up for ten minutes.
Sadly, that did happen for the first time earlier this month when the players of Haringey Borough and Yeovil walked off following allegations of racist abuse during their FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash at Coles Park.
The tie was officially abandoned soon afterwards and finally went ahead tonight (Tuesday). The Glovers returned to north London to win 3-0 and will host Hartlepool in the first round proper.
The incidents involving both clubs are unlikely to be completely resolved by the time they meet in the cup with FA and police investigations continuing into both.
Before his sacking two weeks ago, former Hartlepool United boss Craig Hignett was also banned for two games by the Football Association after he pleaded guilty to using language to the officials that was “threatening in nature” during the Dover game.
At the time, Pools issued a statement thanking the FA for giving him a “fair hearing”.