Croydon FC’s game abandoned after referee is racially abused

Croydon, in blue, playing Kennington at Ashford earlier last month. That match, at least, reached the final whistle. Photo: Paul Davis

Croydon FC’s match at Croydon Arena was abandoned at half-time on Saturday after the referee was racially abused by a player from the visiting side.

This is the second game in a couple of months in the South East Counties League which has failed to be finished because of allegations of racist abuse – and the disciplinary outcome of football officials is still not resolved following the abandonment of Croydon Athletic’s unfinished game against Fisher on December 28.

Saturday’s SECFL Division 1 match between Croydon and Kennington, from Kent, was 0-0 at 45 minutes.

But league leaders Kennington had had a goal disallowed just before half-time when the assistant referee ruled that the ball had not crossed the goal line fully, and they were then reduced to 10 men when referee Peter Agboola showed a straight red to Joe Fisher for dangerous play.

According to one witness, it was in the break that “the referee got abused from one of Kennington’s players for his skin colour, because he gave them a red card”.

The SECFL yesterday issued this statement: “The Southern Counties East Football League are aware of reports of racial abuse at the game between Croydon and Kennington on Saturday February 29, 2020, which was subsequently abandoned.

“This matter will be now investigated as per normal procedures by the appropriate county FA and it would be inappropriate for the league to comment or take any action while those investigations are being conducted.

“As a league, however, we again would like to say that there is absolutely no place for racism in football in any way, shape or form.”

According to league sources, this case may be resolved more expeditiously since it was the referee who abandoned the game, and much will depend on his report, which was expected to be filed today.

The previous match abandoned after allegations of racist abuse, however, is proving more difficult to resolve. Volunteer football officials from the London FA and the Surrey FA are dealing with the fall-out from the Premier Division match between Croydon Athletic and Fisher at the end of last year, which was called off after 60 minutes, with Fisher losing 3-1, after one of their players alleged that they had been racially abused.

An immediate investigation absolved the Croydon Athletic player of any blame, but the county FAs have charged both clubs with failing to control their players. No decision has yet been made about whether the game needs to be re-scheduled, whether Fisher, whose players walked off the pitch mid-game, will forfeit the game and the match points, or whether other penalties need to be applied.

“Because this involves two county FAs, it seems to be taking longer to sort out,” a source said.

“It needs to be resolved quickly – before the season is over.”

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