Friday 22 February 2019

Liverpool urge football’s governing bodies to act against discrimination

No action will be taken against Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov.

Rhian Brewster
Rhian Brewster

By Carl Markham, Press Association Sport

Liverpool have urged football’s governing bodies to take “robust” action to tackle discrimination in the game after a racism allegation made by young striker Rhian Brewster was dropped due to insufficient evidence.

No action will be taken against Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov after UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary body could not prove he had used discriminatory language towards the England Under-17 World Cup winner in a UEFA Youth League in December.

Mironov admitted swearing at Brewster during the game but – despite the Liverpool player’s furious reaction on the pitch – no proof of racist comments was uncovered after five players from each side and the match official were interviewed, although UEFA conceded the allegation was made in good faith.

In a similar incident, Reds first-team forward Roberto Firmino last month saw the case against him dropped because there was no evidence to corroborate Everton defender Mason Holgate’s allegations of a racist remark.

“Liverpool Football Club acknowledges UEFA’s findings and accepts that their decision, announced today, concludes the matter, as pertains to this specific case,” said a club spokesman.

“We would like to place on record our admiration for the courage shown by Rhian Brewster throughout this process and commend his exemplary conduct.

“The club is very proud of the maturity, dignity and leadership Rhian has displayed in bringing focus to this issue and he will continue to receive our full support.

“In keeping with Rhian’s stance, the club encourages football’s governing bodies to facilitate the most robust processes possible to identify and tackle discrimination in the game at all ages.”

UEFA said despite extensive enquiries they were unable to find any evidence from the game at Tranmere’s Prenton Park.

“Therefore, the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body, following the recommendation of the inspector, established that there was no evidence that would legally support sanctioning the FC Spartak Moskva youth player Leonid Mironov and thus decided to close the disciplinary proceedings,” UEFA said.

The anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out said it was “deeply disappointed” with UEFA’s findings and said the outcome was “likely to give further encouragement to those who wish to be abusive in the sport”.

It added: “Kick It Out believes there are issues with clubs, such as Spartak Moscow, who have been involved in several alleged racist incidents in recent years, receiving little or no discouragement by national and international football authorities in response to allegations of racism and discrimination.

“This underlying issue is compounded with any action taken in relation to racist or discriminatory incidents rarely being appropriate. This current situation is intolerable.”

It has been a difficult few months for Brewster, who returned from last summer’s Under-17 World Cup as Golden Boot winner.

An injury, which initially was an ankle problem causing concern, sustained in January’s under-23s defeat to Manchester City has ended his season prematurely.

“Rhian has had to have an operation on his knee as well to sort out the meniscus,” said under-23 coach Neil Critchley.

“It happened at the same time as when he hurt his ankle. The ankle was the major issue – that was where he was getting the most pain – but the knee wasn’t quite right.

“It’s not a major thing but as he’s out anyway, they took the opportunity to get it sorted.”

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