Pompey racism probe: Player-on-player abuse 'worse' symptom of 'systematic racism' in football

RACISM from within a football club is ‘worse’ than fans hurling abuse and an example of a systematic problem, a former Pompey player has said.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 4:55 am
Vincent Pericard on the ball in 2005 against Spurs. Picutre: Matt Scott-Joynt

Vincent Pericard spoke out after Portsmouth FC launched a probe into racist messages shared in the academy’s under-18 Snapchat group chat.

The vulgar messages referred to lynching, death threats and bombing after Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka failed to net penalties at Wembley on Sunday against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.

Pericard spoke to The News after former defender Linvoy Primus called for educating racists - while warning football and the community are looking to Pompey for a ‘signal’.

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Student ambassador Vincent Pericard. Picture: Sarah Standing (161368-7608)

Pericard, who said he never experienced racism at Fratton Park, said: ‘This is absolutely awful that players at that age are talking like that about older players.

The former Blues player, who played for the Fratton Park side between 2002-2006, said racism from fans to players is widely known.

‘But from player to player that’s something I’ve never heard of - that’s an example of systematic racism within football,’ he added.

‘To me this is worse than fan to player. Player to player is absolutely unacceptable.’

Vincent Pericard in 2017. Picture: Kieran Davey

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But he said the racist messages were a symptom of their senders’ environment.

He said: ‘Right now I feel a lot of compassion for them and actually I don’t see them as being culpable for those words because they’re a result of their environment, of their education, of their social upbringing, of their parents and friends.’

He wants education so people using racist language ‘understand the upset, so they understand the meaning of their actions’.

It comes as Pompey warned its continuing probe must adhere to safeguarding processes as those involved in the investigation are under 18.

The club is urging people to show ‘consideration’ in using social media ‘in this sensitive matter’.

A Blues spokesman said: ‘Portsmouth Football Club are continuing with the investigations into the discriminatory messages that were circulated on social media yesterday and which originated from an Academy U18 private group chat.

‘Because the players are aged under 18, it is important that the appropriate processes – particularly in regard to safeguarding – are adhered to throughout the investigations and that we conduct these in a fair, proper and consistent manner.

‘In respect of our safeguarding responsibilities and on behalf of all parties involved, we would respectfully appeal for everyone’s consideration in their use of social media concerning this sensitive matter.

‘A full statement will be released by the club once all these processes have been completed.

‘We would like to reiterate that we will not tolerate racism or any form of discrimination at Portsmouth Football Club.

‘We will take appropriate action whenever and wherever we witness any such behaviour, whether at the club or on social media.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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