Police appeal after racism incident at Blackburn Rovers vs Birmingham match

Police appeal after football player target of racial abuse during game at Ewood <i>(Image: Action Images)</i>
Police appeal after football player target of racial abuse during game at Ewood (Image: Action Images)

Police are appealing for witnesses following reports of racial abuse during the Blackburn Rovers vs Birmingham City game.

On January 28, the FA Cup fixture at Ewood Park was temporarily halted in the 90th minute following reports Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge, who has Filipino heritage, was subjected to racial abuse.

Police are appealing for witnesses and mobile phone footage as the matter is being investigated.

MORE: Rovers and Blues condemn racism incident which overshadows FA Cup stalemate

No arrest has been made at this stage as enquiries are very much ongoing.

PC Dan Fish said: “We take all matters of this nature extremely seriously and Lancashire Police will not tolerate hate of any form.

“As part of our enquiries we are asking for witnesses or anybody with mobile phone footage covering the Blackburn End of the stadium following Birmingham City’s equaliser to contact us.”

The game was paused for several minutes, with referee Keith Stroud speaking with both benches soon after Jordan James’ equalising goal.

Blues boss John Eustace said the game was held up due to alleged racist comments towards goalkeeper Etheridge, who represents the Philippines internationally and has gained 70 caps, qualifying through his mother.

Blackburn Rovers said in a statement: “Blackburn Rovers is aware of allegations of racist abuse reported to the match officials by Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge during today’s FA Cup fourth round tie at Ewood Park.

“Referee Keith Stroud notified the players and managers of both clubs of the alleged incident, which will now be fully investigated by Blackburn Rovers and the relevant authorities.

“Allegations of this nature are taken extremely seriously.

“The club has a zero tolerance policy for all forms of abuse and discrimination, and will take the strongest possible action against any individuals identified for committing such offences.

“No further comment will be made at this time.”

Anyone who saw the incident or has footage from the time around Birmingham's equaliser can contact police by calling 101.