Palace support ‘gobsmacked’ club doctor after racist abuse near ground
Dr Zafar Iqbal says pre-match incident left him devastated and speechless.
Crystal Palace’s club doctor has said he and his family were racially abused by a young child near Selhurst Park ahead of the match against Bournemouth.
Dr Zafar Iqbal tweeted that he had been left “devastated and speechless” after he and his two youngest children were called “P****” outside the ground ahead of the final Premier League fixture of the season.
He said in two messages posted before the game: “Devastated and speechless.
“Taking my 2 youngest kids to their first ever game at Selhurst park and walking a few hundred yards from the stadium a 3 y old shouted to his dad – ‘Look daddy there’s some P****’. His dad ‘attempted to scold’ him. Racism is not just a football problem.
“I didn’t know how to react. I couldn’t tell off the 3 y old kid. Should I have said something to the dad while my 2 young kids were there? Anyway game to prepare for and wonder if the kid and his parents will be in the crowd…”
Just after the match, which Palace won 5-3, Dr Iqbal posted another message which said: “The thing that upsets me most is that my 12 year old daughter came to me to ask if I’d heard it and I didn’t know what to say.
“Should I have told off the dad? I was just gobsmacked. Again I reiterate this is not because of football but a society issue. Anyway taking kids on pitch.”
Palace were quick to condemn the incident and vowed to assist their employee should he wish to take the “disgraceful” incident further.
A statement read: “We utterly deplore the racist comments made to our club doctor while he was heading to today’s match with his children.
“It must have been an awful experience for him and his family and this disgraceful incident shows that the scourge of racism remains in our society.
“Crystal Palace Football Club is committed to inclusivity and diversity and we will offer Dr Zaf our full support if he chooses to take the matter further.”