It’s been a banner fortnight for racism in English soccer. After the debacle in Sofia, wherein the England national team was racially abused by Bulgarian fans, the racism came home in an FA Cup match this weekend.
On Saturday, semiprofessional club Haringey Borough hosted fifth-tier side Yeovil Town in a fourth qualifying round match for England’s top domestic knockout tournament. However, according to the BBC, Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou and his players walked off the field after being subjected to what they perceived to be racist abuse from Yeovil Town fans, leaving the game’s result in doubt.
The abuse mostly targeted two Borough players—Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and English defender Coby Rowe—and began during a second-half penalty kick for Yeovil Town. During the process of setting up kick, the Yeovil Town fans allegedly began abusing both Pajetat and Rowe. Per the Guardian, the abuse included spitting, stone- and bottle-throwing, and verbal insults:
Achillea said stones were thrown at Pajetat from the away end before Yeovil scored a second-half penalty, and that the Cameroonian goalkeeper was also spat at on the head. The referee allegedly confirmed to Haringey staff that a water bottle hit Pajetat and a plastic beer bottle was thrown in the player’s direction.
Rowe was allegedly called “a monkey cunt” and Achillea said the defender was so incensed he had to be restrained from approaching away fans and that it felt impossible for the game to continue because “too many players were distressed by what they had seen or heard”.
On Monday, the FA confirmed in a statement that the match—which was stopped in the 64th minute, with Yeovil Town up 1–0—would be replayed on October 29, once again at Borough’s stadium.
The statement also confirmed that authorities have made two arrests so far in relation to the match. The BBC reports that police have arrested a 23-year-old man and a 26-year-old man for “racially aggravated common assault.”