Paul Mortimer discusses England supporters incident
Kick It Out has branded the incident which saw an England fan have part of his ear bitten off by another England supporter in an apparent racist attack as “horrific”.
Football’s anti-discrimination organisation has been swift in their condemnation of the attack which occurred during England’s 2-1 World Cup Group D defeat to Uruguay on 19 June in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Video footage has emerged of England fan Robert Farquharson being attacked in the Arena Corinthians stadium and local police have begun an investigation, although the attacker has not been identified.
“This is a horrific incident whereby this young man was attacked by a few people and one bit part of his ear off and allegedly shouted racist abuse at him,” Paul Mortimer, Professional Player Engagement Manager for Kick It Out, told Sky Sports.
“There’s no disputing that we condemn this kind of behaviour. It’s totally unacceptable.
“What we hope is that the perpetrator is found very quickly because England fans should be able to travel and watch their team in safety.
“Whether there is racism involved or not, the incident is still severe and the fact that it is allegedly a racist incident sort of saddens you and sickens you even more.
“I’ve read some of the accounts of other fans who were there and they were genuinely stunned. The young man who was attacked looks really shocked at what’s happened because it really isn’t something which you expect to happen.
“It shows that we still have work to do.”
This is the second alleged incident involving England fans at the tournament after England-supporting actor and rapper Riz Ahmed claimed to have been racially abused at the same game.
Following the incident, he tweeted: “I was at Sao Paulo stadium, edge of seat, singing Eng-er-land. Half time I get racist abuse from England fan. 2nd half, I just can’t sing it.”
Former Charlton and Bristol City midfielder Mortimer condemned the incidents, adding he hoped they would not deter black and minority ethnic (BAME) fans from attending England games in the future.
“These are two incidents that we know of but these are two really serious incidents, one of which is definitely racist abuse,” he said.
“Watching England should be a positive and safe experience, and fans shouldn’t be in fear of attack from their own.
“We condemn them and what needs to happen is these people need to be rooted out and found, and dealt with accordingly.
“We hope these are two isolated incidents that do not stop BAME fans from going but it doesn’t help people who are thinking about going and are not quite sure, that is for certain.
“Hearing about things like this may well put them off, which is a shame because people should be able to travel and watch their country play regardless of their skin colour.
“I’m an England fan who is black and that shouldn’t be an issue at all. When I go and watch England play, I’m an England fan.
“There should be no differentiation between people based on the colour of their skin, but fans will worry about that, there’s no disputing it.”
From Sky Sports