Portsmouth FC chief executive vows 'zero tolerance' on racism as fan arrest figures are released

Portsmouth FC's chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Portsmouth FC's chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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POMPEY fans were arrested six times in four years, an investigation found.

But the club’s chief executive Mark Catlin said racism is a societal issue that needs to be tackled sooner rather than later.

A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association revealed six football-related arrests involving racism were made invovling Portsmouth fans from 2014/15 to 2017/18 – the same as Arsenal and West Brom but higher than any other south coast side.

Mr Catlin said the club has severe punishments for those caught hurling racial abuse, but it isn’t an issue restricted to Fratton Park.

He said: ‘These racism incidents reflect a problem with society, it’s not just a football issue.

‘People don’t just become racist when they step inside a football ground – it’s more systemic than that.

‘We have zero tolerance of racism here at Pompey, it’s unacceptable and we do hand out stadium bans for it.’

Mr Catlin also says that fans have a part to play in stamping out racism in Portsmouth.

‘The vast majority of fans are very responsible but they get tarnished by the actions of a handful,’ he said.

‘But if they are able to report incidents during matchdays or even tell these people that they’re being out of order, that goes a long way in helping us to tackle it.

‘If there is even one incident then it’s disappointing – but we will keep working with everyone to try and finally eradicate this for good.’

Manchester United had 27 arrests in four seasons.