Apologetic Portsmouth forced to cancel friendly with Gosport Borough as academy investigation continues

Pompey have confirmed their pre-season friendly against Gosport Borough, which was scheduled for Wednesday, July 21, has been cancelled.

By Mark McMahon
Friday, 16th July 2021, 9:43 pm
Pompey have been forced to cancel their pre-season friendly against Gosport Borough. Picture: Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The decision follows club bosses at Fratton Park launching an ‘immediate investigation’ into racist messages uncovered in an under-18 academy group chat.

The messages refer to the three black England players who failed to score penalties against Italy in last Sunday’s Euro 2020 final at Wembley.

That inquiry continues, and while Pompey regret having to cancel the game against their non-league neighbours – a fixture that would have seen a Blues Xi feature at Privett Park – a club statement has confirmed that they had little other choice.

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Pompey were this week the victims of a cancelled friendly themselves.

On Monday, Premier League Crystal Palace pulled out of their scheduled fixture against Danny Cowley’s side, which had been pencilled in for St George’s Park today.

The Blues have apologised for the inconvenience caused, but have stressed their commitment to play the game at a more suitable time.

The club statement read: ‘A number of academy players would have featured in the pre-season friendly at Privett Park.‘However, we have a duty of care to all our players and due to the ongoing investigation – and the requirement for proper process – over discriminatory messages originating from an U18 private group chat, the club decided there was no choice but to postpone the match.

‘Portsmouth Football Club understand that our friends at Gosport had worked hard in their planning of the fixture and we would like to apologise to them, as well as all supporters who were planning to attend, for any inconvenience this has caused.

‘We are fully committed to working with Gosport to try to arrange for the game to be played at a mutually convenient later date.’