POLICE have launched an investigation following allegations that football fans shouted racist abuse at a teenage player who left the field in tears.
East Stirlingshire’s 17-year-old defender Jordan Tapping was allegedly subjected to monkey chants and name-calling in the second half of his side’s 4-0
defeat by Peterhead.
The schoolboy was substituted 15 minutes before the end of the League 2 match at Balmoor Stadium in Peterhead on Saturday because he was so upset by the taunts, according to East Stirling’s chairman. Last night, Police Scotland confirmed they were investigating, saying in a statement: “Racial abuse in any form is not only completely
unacceptable, it is also criminal. We will be liaising closely with both football clubs to thoroughly investigate this incident which, at this time, would appear to have involved a small minority of people.”
Peterhead FC also said they are helping police with their inquiries.
A statement on the club website said: “Peterhead FC reacted swiftly to the alleged racist comments at Saturday’s game against East Stirling. The head steward approached the group where the comments were alleged to have come from, although no witnesses came forward.
“The club chairman, general manager and safety officer all made personal apologies to the East Stirling management team and to the player involved. The club officials also approached the match officials who advised that whilst they were made aware of the alleged comments, they also did not witness or hear the comments themselves.”
East Stirling said they planned to report the incident to thefootball authorities.
Club secretary Tadek Kopszywa said: “If any idiots who go to football matches and think that making racist comments is just a bit of fun, then they might care to consider the emotional impact this has had on a 17-year-old school kid, who is trying to make his way in football, before they open their mouths.
“Our players and coaches who had to handle the immediate impact of what happened did so brilliantly. They are a credit to our club and everyone with the Shire at heart owes them thanks for their responsible actions.”
East Stirling chairman Tony Ford said: “The lad was so distressed the coaches made the immediate decision to substitute him and I believe he was very upset in the changing room afterwards.
“Peterhead officials followed correct procedures after the game and their chairman Rodger Morrison apologised in person to Jordan. They have a video of the people in the section of the ground where the abuse came from.”
Two of the player’s team-mates, Graeme McGregor and Chris Townsley, also said they would help identify the culprits.
Peterhead fans were quick to condemn the behaviour in an online supporters’ forum with one saying: “The only downside to the game was the shocking abuse handed out to one of the Shire defenders from behind the goals during the second half, it was so serious that the referee twice spoke to the home contingent on the touchline to act on it … there could be possible repercussions for the club over this.”