Hartlepool United release statement following alleged racist incident during Dover Athletic defeat

It was a sad day for football and a sad day for Hartlepool United Football Club.

Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 6:35 pm
Trouble broke out at the Hartlepool United v Dover Athletic game during the Vanarama National League match at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Saturday 21st September 2019. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Pools were beaten 2-0 by Dover but the match was completely overshadowed by alleged racist abuse from fans in the Victoria Park Town End aimed at the Dover Athletic players following their opening goal scored by Inih Effiong.

Following the shameful scenes, Hartlepool United chief executive Mark Maguire said in a club statement: “I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a game of football like that, but it is important that we separate our reaction to the game, and the officials, to the events following Dover’s first goal.

“Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, or the aftermath to the penalty which was scored, Hartlepool United utterly condemn racist behaviour of any description.

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“We are a proudly inclusive as a Club, and we know that the vast majority of Pools fans will join us in standing up against words and actions which have no place in football or society.

“As I understand it, in this, the early stages after the event, individuals have been identified and will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner by both the Club and police.

“Equally, I personally spoke to the people on the receiving end of the abuse, assuring them that we would take the necessary action.

“We also made a public announcement at half time, setting out our condemnation of such behaviour, whilst I also spoke with the Chairman of Dover to offer my apology.

“As a Club we will protect the principles held by the vast majority of our fan base who would be insulted by their reputation being tarnished in this manner.

“In these type of circumstances actions speak louder than words and we will be judged accordingly.

“On days like today, Directors, Management and staff of both clubs have a responsibility to stand up and be counted, and we have no hesitation in reacting in the strongest possible manner.

“Of a completely separate nature is any concern surrounding events on and off the pitch during and immediately after the game, and we will deal with this accordingly with the appropriate authorities.”