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Tuesday 20 November 2018

FA supporting Rhian Brewster and pushing for action over racial abuse claims

Rhian Brewster raised accusations of alleged racist abuse
Rhian Brewster raised accusations of alleged racist abuse

The Football Association says it understands Rhian Brewster's frustrations after the young Liverpool forward highlighted the racist abuse he has suffered.

Brewster described seven incidents while playing for both England and Liverpool youth teams in an interview with The Guardian and expressed his anger at the relevant authorities' failure to tackle the problem.

In a statement on its website on Friday evening, the FA said: "We take such matters extremely seriously and have worked to provide support to our young players should they be the victims of such abhorrent behaviour while representing club or country.

"We have delivered workshops with our development teams, educating the squads on how to report such matters and the steps to take if subjected to abuse on the pitch.

"In Rhian's case, we have visited him at his club to discuss his concerns and understand his frustration at the perceived lack of action. He has our full support and we will continue to push for appropriate responses from the relevant authorities."

Liverpool submitted an official complaint after one alleged incident during a UEFA Youth League tie against Spartak Moscow earlier this month and the FA expressed a desire to work with UEFA and FIFA to try to tackle the issue.

The statement continued: "We have raised with both UEFA and FIFA a need for discrimination to be covered as part of the pre-tournament player workshops, and also expressed our concern at difficulties encountered in trying to report incidents.

"Our hope is to work closely with UEFA and FIFA to learn from these issues and to ensure a better way forward in order to protect young players."

Paul Elliott, chair of the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board, said he and his colleagues would be speaking about the matter to UEFA and FIFA in the coming days.

He said: "I commend Rhian on his bravery in talking about these awful experiences. He deserves our full respect for speaking out in such a mature and open way.

"As we enter 2018, no one should have to endure such discrimination and it is incumbent on all of us in the game to listen to young players and provide them with our full support.

"While some of these allegations are still under investigation, I share the desire of my colleagues at the FA to address this head on.

"Both UEFA and FIFA have received official complaints about these cases of racial abuse and we trust that they will address these matters with the utmost importance.

"Our players need to know that action will follow if they are subjected to such abuse - and be given assurances of the measures taken to tackle the problem.

"In the days ahead, I and my colleagues on the FA's Inclusion Advisory Board will be talking to colleagues at UEFA and FIFA to understand what more can be done to avoid this happening again."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has pledged Brewster will get all the support he needs from the club.

The German said: "I'm really happy that he is brave enough to do what he did because it is such an important thing really. I can't believe that people have these kind of thoughts still in their mind.

"We needed a 17-year-old boy to shout out, to say it is still happening and it happens all the time, to say 'I need help, we need help'.

"It's not a situation you want a 17-year-old boy to be in but, if it's like this and he needs help, we give it to him of course."

Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion organisation, has already hailed the teenager for speaking out and declared him "incredibly brave".

UEFA has been asked for comment. In its rules the governing body says anyone found guilty of racist abuse faces a suspension of at least 10 matches.

Press Association

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