Birmingham’s Dwight Yorke last night claimed he was the target of racial abuse from Blackburn Rovers supporters during the Premiership match at Ewood Park in the wake of the abuse England players were subjected to during last week’s friendly against Spain in Madrid.
Yorke, who used to play for Rovers, told his manager Steve Bruce that he had been subjected to abuse by two home fans as he warmed up prior to his 74th-minute introduction as substitute in the 3-3 draw. “They racially abused him. Dwight is bitterly upset and angry,” Bruce said. “It was something similar to the racist taunts the English players had and we just don’t want to see it.
“Apparently it is monkey taunts and that is sick. It’s all right him getting a bit of stick [because he is a former Blackburn player] but when it comes to what we’ve just seen in midweek, everybody is sickened by it.” Rovers issued a statement: “We can confirm that a spectator was ejected for making what we understand to be a hand gesture towards Dwight Yorke. We will fully investigate the matter tomorrow as part of a full debrief with police and stewards and we will study all available CCTV footage.”
The claims came hours after Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said that he would have supported England’s players if they had walked off the pitch in the face of the racial abuse suffered during last week’s match.
In an extraordinary declaration, Blatter said: “Such a movement I would have understood. I would have supported their walking off. We have to maintain discipline and respect on and off the field. When such a threat is in football in the future I think it would be a good remedy.”