QPR say UEFA must take ‘strongest possible action’ against racism after Under-18s match in Spain is abandoned

QPR have urged European football’s governing body UEFA to take the ‘strongest possible action’ after the club’s Under-18 side walked off the pitch during a friendly following alleged racist abuse by opposition players.

Manager Paul Furlong was made aware of the incident in the second half against Spanish side Nervion on August 8 and it was decided to follow a protocol that had been established during an equality and diversity session with anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out before they travelled to Spain.

GettyImages 586878902 - QPR say UEFA must take ‘strongest possible action’ against racism after Under-18s match in Spain is abandoned
QPR chief executive Lee Hoos believes this is a great opportunity for UEFA to make a strong statement against racism

QPR chief executive Lee Hoos said in a club statement: “We take a very strong stance against racism and will not tolerate one of our players being subjected to the despicable comments experienced.”

QPR are in dialogue with the Football Association over the matter, but Hoos feels more should be done by UEFA to address the issues head on.

“I applaud Paul Furlong and his staff for reacting in such a manner and doing everything within their powers to protect the players. I am also very proud of our Under-18s who showed such maturity in the face of unacceptable provocation,” he said.

“Had this incident occurred in England I have no doubts the issue would be dealt with swiftly with a strong punishment by the FA.

“Unfortunately, it seems some countries have a long way to go in this respect and I urge UEFA to take the strongest possible action as incidents of this nature are happening far too often.

“At QPR we must not, and will not, stand for it.”

Hoos added: “There is an opportunity here for UEFA to make a strong statement. I hope it is an opportunity they take.”

Kick It Out said in a statement: “We will always back players and teams who leave the pitch after suffering significant discriminatory abuse, especially if they have followed the correct protocols.

“We have been in constant communication with the club (QPR) since this incident and will continue to support all football clubs and players in the fight against discrimination in the game.”

UEFA maintains the fight to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football is a major priority for the governing body, with discriminatory behaviour not tolerated in any of its competitions.

However, friendly matches do not fall under the jurisdiction of UEFA but are instead regulated by world governing body FIFA, which has been contacted for comment.

The latest developments follow allegations of discrimination which overshadowed the start to the new domestic season, with incidents highlighted by Fulham defender Cyrus Christie as well as Southend striker Theo Robinson, James McClean of Stoke and Barnsley’s Bambo Diaby.

Meanwhile, a man was arrested in connection with an allegedly racist tweet sent to Derby midfielder Duane Holmes has been bailed pending further inquiries.

During pre-season match in July, Arsenal youngster Jordi Osei-Tutu was allegedly subjected to racist abuse while playing in a friendly for loan club Bochum against Swiss Super League team St Gallen.

QPR chief executive Hoos feels there is plenty more work to be done.

“We have made many great strides in tackling racism in football, but sadly there is still a long way to go,” he added.

“Racism in football is a reflection of problems within society and what’s incredible is that we were warned of similar alleged incidents that had taken place in the region before we played there.

“Should we have refused the fixture? Is that going to solve the problem or avoid it?

“Action must be taken at every level of our game, not just when it happens in front of the watching world.

“There is an opportunity here for UEFA to make a strong statement. I hope it is an opportunity they take.”

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