A MOTHER has spoken of her horror after her mixed-race son was called a “f***ing monkey boy” during a junior football match.

The teenager was playing for Bishop Juniors FC when an opposition player from Brandon United FC directed the racist slur at him.

Both clubs, and Durham FA, said racism will not be tolerated.

But mum Kara Hinds said: “That boy knew 100 per cent what he was doing, it was an awful, unacceptable thing to say.

“My son is such a lovely boy and very mature. He felt really embarrassed in front of his teammates and his dad, who was there.”

Mrs Hinds decided to speak out about the incident because she was disappointed by the response of Durham FA and says her son does not feel supported or protected by the sport’s governing body.

The incident, in May, led to an investigation by Durham FA into allegations of use of abusive language and an aggravated charge of racism.

Following a hearing, the case was proven and the offender given a six match ban – three to be served and three suspended – and must complete an online learning module and assessment. His club was also fined.

Mrs Hinds said the punishment was not tough enough and she was disappointed that a teammate who witnessed the offence, the boy’s father and club welfare officer were not included in the hearing.

She said: “During the hearing they asked my son if it was an aggressive game, if he’d said anything to provoke it – as if that makes any difference and justifies what was said.

“The punishment, which to me is really a three match ban, is what a player would get for a bad tackle and doesn’t show they took this seriously.

“You have professionals taking the knee and campaigns the FA supports but it feels more like lip-service than really tackling the issue of racism, which needs to start at grassroots.”

Durham FA said evidence was gathered from five witnesses and though one was on holiday for the hearing date it did impact the outcome as the case was proven. It said it had been unaware the father wanted to attend, but his mother was there as the adult accompanying a minor, and that the welfare officer was not at the game so his attendance not necessary.

It said the sanction was determined by an independent regulatory commission and included mandatory education – which applies to all proven cases regarding aggravated breaches of this nature, at any level of English football.

Mrs Hinds was also disappointed Brandon United did not to suspend the offending player immediately after the game.

Bishop Juniors FC chairman and director of football, Darren Tait, said: “I was disappointed he was allowed to play the next week. He was then found guilty which would have been one of the most serious breaches of his club’s code of conduct so I’d expect to lead to dismissal from the club.

“The FA wants to be seen to be addressing this problem yet its own punishments don’t match the offence.

“Education is a great thing and ultimately what is needed at every level of the game and society to stop it happening.”

Brandon United’s committee said it allowed the child involved to play pending the outcome of the disciplinary hearing because he denied the comment and the coach, parents, teammates and referee did not hear it. They said he had a previously clean record and was considered innocent until proven otherwise.

The club also sought the advice of Durham FA’s welfare officer on the matter.

The club said it is raises awareness of hate crimes throughout the club and reminds everyone of its strict code of conduct and anti-bullying policies.

A spokesperson said: “Racism will not be tolerated at our club and in this case if the child in question was to further breach our codes of conduct then his club membership will be revoked.

“If there was a further allegation made about this player his membership would be immediately suspended until an outcome was determined.”

A spokesperson added: “Racism will not be tolerated by the club. We are deeply saddened that this incident has occurred and are actively working with agencies that support volunteer led organisations to do everything we can to ensure this does not happen again.

"We as a club are also tackling the effects of poor mental health in children following the pandemic and are promoting positive mental health and inclusivity in sport by signposting to mental health services for children and young people which are supported by Durham FA.

"We are determined to provide an inclusive club for all children who wish to play football. We have welfare schemes in place to ensure that children who are economically disadvantaged can play football for free.”

Durham FA said it “would welcome further dialogue with the victim’s family to reassure them that they are doing their utmost to protect players”.

 

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