Brighton keeper Ryan praises Haringey’s ‘powerful statement’ against racism
Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan has applauded Haringey counterpart Douglas Pajetat for his response to alleged racist abuse.
The players of both Haringey and FA Cup fourth qualifying-round opponents Yeovil walked off the pitch at Coles Park after 64 minutes on Saturday after it was claimed Cameroonian Pajetat had been spat at and had missiles thrown at him and that defender Coby Rowe had been the victim of racist comments.
The game was eventually abandoned and is due to be replayed on October 29.
Australian Ryan told his club’s official website: “It was a powerful statement, but it’s a shame that we’re still speaking about the subject in this day and age.
“Full credit to everyone involved from both clubs and the individual himself to have the confidence to walk off the pitch with the support of everyone.
“It shows good unity from everyone involved to make a stand, as we continue to try and kick these problems out of the game.
“Football is a powerful sport and this sort of thing has gone on for far too long, so something needs to be done in order to stop it.
“Let’s hope that this is a big step towards that. As players, we have quite a bit of power to be able to make a stand, which is what both teams did in that moment, so I commend them for it.
“Hopefully it gets the right attention now to work towards a solution to rid society, the game and the world of this type of abuse.”
The incident, over which two men have since been arrested, came during another depressing weekend for football just days after England players were abused during their Euro 2020 qualifier in Bulgaria.
Manchester United have issued an indefinite ban to a spectator who was ejected from Old Trafford during Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Liverpool over alleged racist abuse, while there were also allegations of discriminatory comments by Salford and Bristol City fans over the weekend.
In addition, Scottish Premiership club Hearts have launched an investigation amid claims that Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was targeted on Sunday.
The Premier League’s No Room for Racism campaign will be featured at the Amex Stadium when Brighton host Everton this Saturday, and Ryan is hoping the message will get through.
He said: “We’re human beings before we’re footballers. Football is a game of emotions and both the supporters and us as players can get caught up in that sometimes.
“You just have to try to avoid doing things that warrant consequences. Hopefully the people involved in this incident realise the harm it can cause to an individual and we can use it as a step towards getting rid of these sorts of things.”