Sunderland AFC bosses and fans condemn racism after arrest at Burton Albion game

Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium. Picture from PA
Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium. Picture from PA

Black Cats bosses and supporters have underlined their opposition to racism after a travelling fan was arrested during Saturday's game at Burton Albion.

A 52-year-old, from Blackhall, was charged with a racially aggravated public order offence after an incident at the Pirelli Stadium.

He is due to appear before South Derbyshire magistrates next month.

Sunderland AFC’s head of safety, Steve Neill, said: "Sunderland’s travelling supporters attend away games in huge numbers.

"They have a tremendous reputation and only recently safety officials at Gillingham Town praised the behaviour of our fans, when 2,500 travelled for a Wednesday night game.

"This isolated incident does not represent our supporters or, indeed, our football club and we condemn this and any form of discrimination in the strongest possible terms.

"We would urge our supporters to contact the club or the police should they ever witness any incidents of discriminatory behaviour at football matches. By working together, we can send a powerful message that this will not be tolerated by Sunderland AFC and its supporters."

Andrew Hird, chairman of the Red & White Army supporters' group, said: "There is no place in the game or society as a whole, for discriminatory behaviour.

"Football has improved a lot since the 70s and 80s, and while ncidents of racist abuse are thankfully a much rarer occurrence these days, supporters have a duty not to become complacent about such behaviour."

Ged Grebby chief executive of Show Racism the Red Card, added: "Sunderland AFC has supported the work of Show Racism the Red Card for over 20 years.

"The club has always been pro-active and taken a zero-tolerance approach to racism and were one of the first ever clubs to get involved in anti- racism campaigns.

"Once again we will be working closely with the club throughout the season and will offer any support that we can to help tackle racism and educate against discriminatory behaviour”

The man who was arrested will appear at South Derbyshire Magistrates’ Court in October. In the meantime, he has been banned from attending all Sunderland games until the outcome of the court proceedings are known.