FA asks Hartlepool and Dover for observations after allegations of racial abuse

The Football Association has asked both Hartlepool and Dover for their observations after allegations of racial abuse were made during Saturday’s National League clash between the two clubs.

Pools manager Craig Hignett has also been charged with misconduct after being sent to the stands during his side’s controversial 2-0 defeat.

An FA statement said: “The Football Association has written to both Hartlepool United FC and Dover Athletic FC to seek their observations following reports of discrimination and further incidents during the clubs’ fixture in the National League Premier on Saturday 21 September 2019.

“In addition, the Hartlepool United manager, Craig Hignett, has been charged with two breaches of FA Rule E3.

“It is alleged that his language towards a match official in the 81st minute of the fixture was abusive and/or insulting and/or implied bias.

“It is further alleged that, following his dismissal from the technical area, his language towards a match official was improper and/or threatening. He has until Thursday 26 September 2019 to provide a response.”

Hartlepool have been working with police in an attempt to identify those involved in an incident, which occurred after Inih Effiong had fired the visitors ahead from a 37th-minute penalty.

A 43-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially-aggravated public order offence, while a 60-year-old man has also been reported for summons after allegedly making his way on to the pitch during the game which seems certain to have repercussions for the north-east club.

A statement on their official website read: “Since Saturday, the club has remained fully focussed on taking positive action and understood that we were likely to receive attention from The Football Association.

“We recognise that it is important that they are seen to take decisive action to protect the integrity of Football.

“We can confirm that the FA has, at this stage, asked for our observations surrounding Saturday’s events, including the racist chanting and various other events during and immediately after the game.

“We will answer the necessary questions, as well as providing a list of the actions we have taken since Saturday.

“In addition, the FA has charged Craig Hignett with two counts of misconduct relating to his sending-off, and the immediate aftermath. In this regard, we have until Thursday to respond and we will present significant evidence along with that response.”

In the short term, Hignett, who also saw midfielders Ryan Donaldson and Nicky Featherstone receive red cards, will concentrate on Tuesday evening’s clash with Chesterfield, at which spectators will be asked to hold up cards displaying the message “Love Pools, Hate Racism”.

The club statement continued: “In the meantime, our focus now is on tonight’s match and continuing to take the appropriate action on all matters.”

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