Racism in football – Society of Black Lawyers press release



The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), the oldest and most progressive black lawyers group in the UK , has had reported to it a serious example of how the failure by the Football Association to treat racial abuse seriously at the professional level has acted as a green light to racism at a local level. In a disturbing development which undermines the call of some football managers to “keep the problem within the game”, a local team of predominantly African Caribbean and Asian youngsters endured a barrage of racial abuse and threats involving both players and parents at a game in Leicester a few days ago.


The SBL received a report a few days ago of a vicious and ugly incident that occurred last Sunday week (21st Oct 2012) at a football ground in Leicestershire. Leicester Nirvana U15’s were playing an away fixture at Blaby and Whetstones home ground and were subjected to the most vile racial slurs and threats of violence from both spectators and players belonging to Blaby and Whetstone FC. The matter has been recorded to Leicestershire Constabulary as a racial incident and both they and the FA at County and National level are now investigating.


Nirvana FC, an inner city football club (based in the Spinney Hills and Hamilton area of the city of Leicester), has an extremely unique and diverse membership that numbers approximately 300. The clubs core business is to use football as a means to develop socially deprived young people across the board with an opportunity to participate in competitive sport. The club has provided several youngsters with a route to the professional game and many others to obtain a career.

Reports from parents, players and coaching staff highlighted some very serious allegations of some of the most severe overt racist behaviour by a club affiliated to the County FA. The abuse included: –

  1. Monkey chants and actions coming from spectator and parents of Blaby & Whetstone supporters;
  2. Racist comments of “Nigger” and “monkeys” from players and PARENTS/SPECTATORS throughout the game and afterwards;
  3. Parents entering the field of play to confront Nirvana players;
  4. Threats of physical violence coming from Parents and spectators of Blaby after the game had concluded.





Kirk Master, Chairman of Nirvana commented,


“The matters listed above are the most graphic that I personally have been made aware of for many years at a Junior level. I am disgusted with what I have heard from those in attendance and want some immediate action taken. The club has held an emergency meeting to discuss the matter. We as a club are NOT under any circumstances going to allow this behaviour to occur against our players, parents or any other BME person citywide. We demand firm and swift action from the FA”.


D Peter Herbert O.B.E. commented,


“This shows how far removed from reality some football managers are in seeking to bury race issues from police investigation in the Premier League. Some in Society seek to expose the abuse of Jimmy Saville but seek to bury incidents of racism within football when the victims are young people of colour. Such humiliating scenes demonstrates the ugly repercussions that the Suarez and John Terry incidents have at a local level. The failure of the FA to hand out severe penalties clearly serve to encourage such behaviour. The FA are fifteen years out of date in failing to record racial incidents according to the definition adopted by the McPherson Inquiry. This explains why there were only 106 incidents in the whole of 2011 as local County FA’s “filter out” racial incidents.”


David Neita commented, “Blaby and Whetstone should be suspended from the FA pending a full inquiry based on the seriousness of these allegations. We will be making a full report to the Minister of Sport after meeting with Nirvana FC”


The Society of Black Lawyers has agreed to talk to club members on Saturday morning, 10th November at Leicester Nirvana’s home ground, Hamilton, Leicester and calls upon the local anti-racist community to help the club.



For further details please contact:-


Kirk Master Nirvana Chairman :                           07814 302743

D. Peter Herbert O.B.E                                      07973 794946

David Neita: SBL spokesperson and barrister    07515 520756

Stephanie Smith (SBL Human Rights Ctte)          07946 150111

Bella Ribeiro (SBL Human Rights Ctte)               07950 614989


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BBC Breakfast TV 27.10.2012: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JRMlSiMYJU