Nantwich Pitch Invasion football league in “racism” probe
Pitch Invasion football league in Nantwich is at the centre of a racism investigation.
Cheshire FA and Pitch Invasion are probing claims of “disgraceful” racial abuse in a game at Nantwich Town’s Weaver Stadium.
Players and managers of Murphy’s Sleeves say their player Joey Ghader was verbally abused and spat at by opponents.
Team boss Jole Fisher confirmed they have filed a complaint about the incident and the way it was handled by an FA qualified match referee, provided by Pitch Invasion.
And Pitch Invasion confirmed today they are holding a joint investigation alongside Cheshire FA into the allegations.
Speaking to Nantwich News, Joey said: “I was racially abused on that many occasions I actually lost count. This was topped off by being spat in my face.
“The referee did absolutely nothing about this at any stage although the whole pitch could hear what was going on.
“I confronted the referee at the end of the game, and he stated that ‘as the racial abuse wasn’t directed at him, it wasn’t a red card offence’.
“I then went on to ask if he was going to report the incident to which he replied ‘you can make a complaint if you want but it is not my place to, there are plenty of other leagues around if you don’t want to play here’.
“It’s an absolute joke! I could not believe what I was hearing.”
Pitch Invasion, who charge each six-a-side team £29 to play each game on Nantwich Town’s 3G pitch, say all officials are FA qualified.
But Joey’s team mate Andy Hadzik, also an ex referee for Pitch Invasion, added: “I will report this referee to The FA for allowing racism to take place in a game he was in charge of with no sanction at all.
“The team following us on has a black player who was clearly distressed about what he witnessed, and was heard by myself and team mates saying it was diabolical and disgusting.”
Manager Jole added: “It’s an absolute disgrace and a total embarrassment for the organisers who failed to act to the standards expected.
“Racism has no part in our society and it is credit to Joey he reacted with no malice towards those who partook in this neanderthal behaviour.
“None of this is good for football or the Nantwich community in general.
“Whether a player is playing professionally or at the standard we are, they deserve protection from physical and verbal abuse, no such protection was afforded to us at any stage.
“The gentleman officiating advised when approached that it wasn’t his place to report the complaint.”
Craig Davies, general manager of Pitch Invasion, told Nantwich News: “Pitch Invasion, as an FA-Affiliated league, take allegations of racial abuse very seriously.
“This incident is under investigation and we are working with Cheshire FA to gather evidence in response to the allegation made.”
Jon Gold, chairman of Nantwich Town FC, added: ”I can confirm Pitch Invasion run their sessions independently of Nantwich Town FC under their own rules and regulations.
“I will request and await a report from Pitch Invasion, so cannot make a comment at this stage.
“However, we have a zero-tolerance towards this sort of thing and if or when proven, and dependent on the reaction of Pitch Invasion, we will then be in a position to evaluate the situation further.”
From Nantwich News