A professional soccer team in England walked off the field on Saturday after two players were reportedly victims of racial abuse from opposing fans.
The players for Haringey Borough left the pitch in the 64th minute of their FA Cup qualifying match against Yeovil Town after Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat and defender Coby Rowe were targeted by opposition fans.
The team called it a “horrendous afternoon.”
“There was no way I could let him [Rowe] continue,” Haringey manager Tom Loizou told BBC Radio 5 Live.
According to reports, Yeovil fans hurled racial abuse at Pajetat after their team took a 1-0 lead from a penalty kick.
“The abuse a few of my players got was disgusting,” Loizou said. “Yeovil’s players and manager were [a] different class. Their team tried to calm their supporters down, they tried their best and they supported us — they said, ‘If you’re walking off, we’re walking off with you.'”
Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou during the FA Cup first round match at the Coles Park Stadium, London. (Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)
“I took the decision to take my team off, and I don’t want Yeovil Town to get punished for it. If we get thrown out of the FA Cup and they go through, there [are] no hard feelings there,” he added.
The London-based club later tweeted that “99.9%” of the opposing team’s fans were also disgusted by the abuse.
“There is absolutely no place for racism in football,” the Haringey club tweeted Saturday.
Kick It Out, a football anti-discrimination charity, said it supported the team’s decision.
“The Haringey manager and players took swift and decisive action as a result of the abuse, similar to that taken by the England team out in Bulgaria just five days ago,” the charity noted.
Saturday’s incident comes after England’s European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria was stopped twice in the first half after home fans hurled racial abuse at England’s black players. England continued to play and went on to win the match 6-0.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.