Andalusian Football Association opens investigation into QPR abuse claims

The Andalusian Football Association (RFAF) has opened an investigation into the allegations of racist abuse directed towards QPR’s under-18 players during a friendly match in Spain.

QPR have called for action to be taken “at every level of our game” after their youth team walked off the pitch against Nervion on August 8.

The English club are liaising with the Football Association over how to proceed. PA understands FIFA will be made aware of the issue, with the world governing body confirming on Thursday morning any allegations would be investigated should a complaint be lodged.

On Thursday afternoon, the RFAF posted a lengthy statement via its social media accounts to address the issues raised.

The statement read: “This federation, as is well known, is very conscious of preventing any racist, discriminatory or humiliating attitude or treatment in football, even more so when there are minors on the football pitch and one of them is the victim. For this reason, the RFAF carries out an express and overwhelming condemnation of the incident, if the alleged acts in the aforementioned meeting are confirmed.

“The RFAF wishes to make it very clear that it was not aware of the holding of the match in which the British club was participating, since it was not communicated by local club Nervion and thus could not be authorised by the RFAF, so no federate referee from the Andalusian Committee of Referees participated.

“An information document has been opened prior to the initiation of a possible disciplinary case, in order to obtain as much information as possible of what happened at the meeting, and to be able to determine any possible responsibilities.

“This federation will not tolerate such attitudes on Andalusian football fields and if the incidents are confirmed, it will impose strong sanctions on those possibly responsible.

“If the incidents are confirmed, the RFAF welcomes the attitude of the youth English football players in leaving the playing field as victims of this alleged racist and discriminatory abuse. This behaviour by the English club is in line with what the RFAF, through its programme for defending minors and against child abuse in football, recommends to its associate partners (clubs, coaches, players and referees) in unacceptable situations of this kind.”

QPR co-owner Tony Fernandes backed the actions of the club's under-18 players
QPR co-owner Tony Fernandes backed the actions of the club’s under-18 players (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

QPR Under-18s manager Paul Furlong was informed of the incident during the second half of the match by one of the Rangers players, who was following a protocol agreed on during an equality and diversity session with anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out.

A statement from FIFA to PA on Thursday morning read: “At the time of writing, FIFA hasn’t received any information in relation to this matter. Should we receive such information, for example a claim or through an official report including this issue, we will look into the matter.

“Generally speaking, FIFA’s position on discrimination is very clear: we are fully engaged in combating any form of discrimination not only in football, but in society in general and we support any effort in this field.”

The FIFA spokesperson added: “FIFA introduced an Anti-Discrimination Monitoring system and the so-called ‘three-step procedure’ at its tournaments, which allows referees to go as far as to abandon a match in case of discriminatory incidents.

“FIFA urges all member associations, leagues, clubs and disciplinary bodies to adopt the same procedure, as well as a zero-tolerance approach to incidents of racism in football, and to apply harsh sanctions for any such kind of behaviour.”

Hoops co-owner Tony Fernandes took to Twitter to express his frustrations at the “brainless and frankly barbaric” developments, adding he was “proud that our team walked off the pitch” in the face of the alleged abuse.

Racism has no space in any of my thinking. What happened in Spain to my under 18 players is a disgrace. But what is worse is the response of @UEFA who just said they would inform the Spanish FA. They should take a much harder line. #StopRacism

— Tony Fernandes (@tonyfernandes) August 14, 2019

UEFA maintains the fight to eliminate racism, discrimination and intolerance from football is a major priority for the governing body, with discriminatory behaviour not tolerated in any of its competitions.

However, friendly matches do not fall under the jurisdiction of the European governing body.

The latest developments follow allegations of discrimination which overshadowed the start of the new season.

Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham became the latest victim of online racial abuse after his penalty shoot-out miss in the Super Cup against Liverpool in Istanbul.

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