Belfast Telegraph

Obinna refutes racism reports

West Ham forward Victor Obinna revealed none of his relatives were even in the country - let alone at Upton Park - on Saturday.

Reports emerged that Obinna and Frederic Piquionne's families suffered racial abuse during the Hammers' 4-2 defeat by Manchester United, with guests of the two strikers allegedly involved in a confrontation with a small group of fans. The reports prompted the club to launch an immediate investigation, but Nigeria international Obinna, 24, categorically denied claims of racism.

"Nothing happened - I do not have any of my family members in England," he told BBC Sport. "There is no point asking me to confirm or verify an incident that never happened - I was in total shock when I heard and read about it in the papers."

He added: "I didn't have any of my relatives at the game and I do not know anyone who complained of any racial incident at the game."

Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan said on Monday he was "appalled" by reports the families were racially abused while sitting in a box in the Main Stand.

West Ham released an official statement denouncing the behaviour and promising a full investigation into the allegations, a move welcomed by football's equality and inclusion campaign, Kick It Out.

Kick It Out spokesman Danny Lynch said: "We've always advocated a zero tolerance approach to any form of discrimination in the game.

"This sort of thing gives the perception that it sets us back and I think it masks all the hard work clubs like West Ham do.

"We welcome West Ham's very proactive stance, with David Sullivan coming out saying he would investigate it and I think that is what we need.

"West Ham are a very community-focused club anyway and they have seen the incident as a blot on the rest of the supporters so there is no doubt they will take the action that needs to be done."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph