The Football Association and Kick It Out have both expressed disappointment at UEFA’s decision not to impose any punishment over a racism allegation made by Liverpool’s teenage striker Rhian Brewster.
No action will be taken against Spartak Moscow’s Leonid Mironov after UEFA’s control, ethics and disciplinary arm determined there was insufficient evidence he had used discriminatory language towards 17-year-old Brewster in a UEFA Youth League fixture last December.
Anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out said that conclusion would be “likely to give further encouragement to those who wish to be abusive in the sport”.
Five players from either side and two match officials were interviewed during the investigation and – though Mironov had conceded swearing at Brewster – he denied racially abusing the Under-17 World Cup winner, who UEFA noted had made his allegation “in complete good faith”.
Part of Kick It Out’s statement read: “The organisation is deeply disappointed with the findings of the independent investigation, with this outcome likely to give further encouragement to those who wish to be abusive in the sport.
“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.”
The FA also stated that it was “disappointed” by the ruling.
A spokesperson said: “The FA believes that all forms of discrimination are completely unacceptable and any allegation must be fully investigated.
“We commend Rhian for his bravery throughout this process, during what would’ve been an incredibly difficult and challenging time for any young footballer.
“Whilst we are disappointed with today’s decision, we will continue to work with UEFA on how to best tackle incidents of discrimination in the future.”
Brewster’s club Liverpool have urged football’s governing bodies to take “robust” action to tackle discrimination in the game.
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.”
It was later confirmed on Wednesday that Brewster’s season had been ended prematurely due to a knee injury that required surgery.