Non-League and the FA Cup were making international headlines for all the wrong reasons on Saturday night after Haringey Borough’s tie with Yeovil Town was abandoned after fans allegedly hurled racist abuse at players.
The fourth qualifying round clash at Coles Park was called off four days after England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria was halted twice as fans were warned about racist behaviour.
Haringey’s Cameroonian keeper Valery Douglas Pajetat was reportedly spat at, racially abused and hit by an object thrown from the Yeovil Town end while Borough defender Coby Rowe later took to Twitter to confirm he was targeted in the incident that led to the players of both sides walking off.
He posted: “Can’t believe I’m tweeting this and it’s 2019 but today I was a victim of racism, in what was supposed to be a great day for @HaringeyBoroFC. Another game of football ruined by racists.’
Can’t believe I’m tweeting this and it’s 2019 but today I was a victim of racism , in what was supposed to be a great day for @HaringeyBoroFC
Yeovil were leading 1-0 on 64 minutes through a Rhys Murphy penalty when Haringey’s players walked off the field. Led by Haringey Borough boss Tom Loizou, they were soon followed by the Glovers in a show of unity.
About 35 minutes later, it was confirmed the match had officially been abandoned.
Loizou later described the incident as ‘very distressing’ and told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If we get punished and thrown out, I don’t care.”
Isthmian League Premier Division side Haringey said on Twitter: “Sorry for the late update but wanted to make sure we gave correct information. Game has been abandoned following racial abuse. Horrendous afternoon.”
The Glovers tweeted their support before releasing a statement saying they “will not accept racism or discrimination in any form” and that they will “be cooperating with the authorities and our friends at Haringey”.
— Yeovil Town FC (@YTFC) October 19, 2019
The Football Association confirmed they were investigating the abandonment as a “matter of urgency” soon after the story broke and started making headlines around the world, from the front of Sunday’s NLP in the UK to The Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.
“We are deeply concerned about the allegation of discrimination from an area of the crowd towards a player during the FA Cup fourth round qualifying match between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town, which resulted in the fixture being abandoned,” said the governing body.
“There is no room for discrimination in our game and we are working with the match officials and the relevant authorities, as a matter of urgency, to fully establish the facts and take the appropriate steps.’
Kick It Out partnered with Non League Day for the eighth consecutive year last Saturday (12 October) as six teams dedicated fixtures to football’s equality and inclusion organisation.
Read the full story in The Non-League Paper on Sunday