Belfast Telegraph

Racist abuse soul-destroying: Haringey chief


Taking stand: Haringey players walk off
Taking stand: Haringey players walk off

By Phil Medlicott

Haringey chairman Aki Achillea has described Saturday’s FA Cup match against Yeovil that was abandoned following alleged racist abuse as “soul-destroying”.

The fourth qualifying round match at Coles Park saw the players walk off, led by boss Tom Loizou, in the 64th minute, shortly after Yeovil had gone 1-0 up via a penalty.

A subsequent post on Haringey’s official Twitter account said it had been abandoned following racist abuse, and their defender

Coby Rowe wrote on his account that he had been a victim.

Achillea said that as well as Rowe receiving racist abuse from the crowd, Haringey goalkeeper Douglas Pajetat was spat on and had a bottle thrown at him.

And the chairman said: “It is soul-destroying because of the effort we’ve put in to encourage so many people from our area.

“If you look at the makeup of our team, we have six or seven Greek-Cypriots, I’m Greek-Cypriot, the manager is.

We have a multitude of West Indians, Africans, Portuguese.

We have virtually every nationality as part of the squad. And to see them have to be subjected to that, it is soul-destroying.

“And now what worries me is that we are potentially going to be targeted in the future, because we are not going to escape those who say we walked off because we were losing and made a meal of it. There are people who will be saying that.

“So whatever views other people say about whether it was right or wrong to walk off the pitch, I am now firmly in the camp that it was 100 per cent the right thing to do.

“I was on the standpoint that you set a dangerous precedent if you start walking off. Until I saw it happen to us, I didn’t realise how compelling it was that you had to make a stand.”

The Football Association has launched an investigation, with the Metropolitan Police also looking into the allegations, and Yeovil have said they will cooperate with the authorities.

England forward Raheem Sterling retweeted a news report about the Haringey players walking off and posted the message “more of this”, accompanied by two hands clapping emojis.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph