The Scottish Professional Football League has launched an official investigation into the racist abuse that forced East Stirlingshire player Jordan Tapping out of a League 2 fixture.
Shire revealed the 17-year-old had been taken off in “extreme distress” during their game at Peterhead on Saturday to protect him from further racist abuse from the crowd.
Police launched a criminal probe on Sunday and the SPFL has followed suit.
A spokesman for the SPFL said: “The SPFL has this afternoon received and reviewed the referee’s match report from the Peterhead v East Stirlingshire game on Saturday, 1 March. We will now conduct a full investigation into an alleged incident at that fixture and will be speaking to both clubs, match officials and Police Scotland.”
Police earlier reported progress in their probe.
Inspector Andy Imray said: “We are working closely with Peterhead Football Club to identify those responsible for this abuse and I would like to thank those people who have already contacted the club about this. I hope this encourages other people who have yet to come forward to do so as soon as possible. From information gathered so far, we have positive lines of inquiry to progress. The match itself was not policed, in line with appropriate assessment between the police and the club. I consider this unacceptable
incident to be an isolated occurrence, which will be fully investigated.”
East Stirlingshire thanked the football world for its support for the player.
A statement from Shire read: “Jordan, his family and the club would like to place on record our thanks to those people from the Scottish football world and beyond who have been in touch since Saturday to offer messages of support.
“Jordan and the club have an important match to prepare for against Stirling Albion on Saturday. We will co-operate fully with Police Scotland while trying to retain our focus on getting ready for our next game.”
PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart warned that football must remain vigilant against racism.
Wishart said in a statement: “We all have to fight against all forms of discrimination, and racism has once again come to the fore this weekend. In addition to Jordan, a young student from Ghana was attacked in Glasgow this weekend.
“It is clear therefore that this is a blight that is not unique to football but an issue society in Scotland has to address and eradicate.
“Football, however, has the prominence to influence and change minds. A football player’s workplace is on the field of play and he has the same rights as any other worker to a racist and discrimation free environment.
“There is no place for racism in Scottish football grounds and those who do indulge in such abhorrent behaviour
undermine the vast majority of good football supporters.
“It is entirely unacceptable that any player, never mind a 17-year-old, has to leave the field of play due to the stress from racist abuse.”