Chesterfield have become the latest Non-League club to investigate allegations of racism involving their own fans.
The National League’s Spireites launched an investigation on Thursday after receiving a formal complaint that fans sang a racist chant referencing striker Mike Fondop during last Saturday’s 1-0 win against Notts County at the Proact Stadium.
The complaint from a Chesterfield fan was made to the club, The Football Association and Kick it Out.
A reminder that the use of racist language at the Proact will not be tolerated. This follows an allegation in relation to a chant at the Notts County match. Details here: https://t.co/DOnNwOWvfa
— Chesterfield FC (@ChesterfieldFC) October 31, 2019
The probe follows two other ongoing investigations – the latest and a sad first for football – the abandonment of the FA Cup tie between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town when the players walked off claiming they’d been racially abused.
On Thursday, charges were levelled at Hartlepool by the FA for failing to ensure their supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion when Dover Athletic’s players were allegedly abused during their September meeting and 2-0 home defeat.
Pools – who have until Tuesday 5 November to respond to the charge – say they are determined to continue their efforts to combat racism and have vowed “set the example on how to respond to matters such as this.”
The Spireites secured the signing of the 25-year-old Fondop in August on a one-year deal. In a long statement, they listed other measures they were already taking and warned offenders they were working with the police and would not hesitate to prosecute.
The statement read: “Supporters are reminded that racist comments or chants at the Proact Stadium will not be tolerated and could result in offenders being prosecuted.
“Club officials have launched an investigation following a formal complaint received from a Chesterfield supporter who attended Saturday’s game against Notts County.
“The fan, who was located in Block S3 of the Motan Colortronic (South) Stand, alleges that a group of supporters used a form of racial stereotyping in a chant directed at Mike Fondop.
“The complaint was made to the club, The FA and Kick it Out and the club will be working closely with the police to assist in trying to identify the people concerned. The club will take strong action against anyone found guilty of making racist comments.
Pointing to the other work the club was already doing, the statement added: “Chesterfield FC Community Trust actively promote equality and organising an annual Kick it Out fixture which saw flag bearers proudly displaying the Kick it Out flag.
“This demonstrated to the nation, live on BT Sports, that we stand with our BAME friends, promoting inclusion and respect in football. Following the unsavoury scenes witnessed in Bulgaria recently, it is vitally important to promote the message that no matter who you are or where you come from, football in Chesterfield is accessible for all.
“Recent outreach work promoting education around equality and black history saw the Trust visit the following five schools during October, in association with the African Caribbean Community Association (ACCA): Newbold Church School, Staveley Junior School, New Bolsover Primary School, Brimington Junior School and Stonelow Junior School.
“The visits promoted Black History Month, talking about inspirational BAME figures, both in the UK and worldwide, particularly in sports, together with the Windrush generation. Lud Ramsey, chairman of the ACCA, shared his personal story, including footage of his appearances on Gladiators and Ninja Warrior!”
Keith Jackson, head of sport and activities at the Community Trust, added: “Equality, inclusion and respect are part of our core values and our recent work during Black History Month is a small part of an ongoing education and PHSE project that we run in schools.
“We’re proud to be proactive in celebrating our heritage, culture and diversity in Chesterfield and want to be at the forefront of promoting this message of acceptance.”
Images courtesy of @ChesterfieldFC/Twitter