Thu, Aug


The Football Association has launched an investigation into Birmingham striker Dwight Yorke's claim he was racially abused at Blackburn.

Yorke said he had been abused by two home fans as he warmed up prior to his 74th-minute introduction as substitute.

FA head of media relations Adrian Bevington said: "We're still establishing the facts and we hope to speak to all interested parties."

Both clubs are also to conduct their own investigations into Yorke's claims.

Blackburn have confirmed one fan had been ejected for making a gesture at Yorke.

The claims come just four days after racism made an unwelcome return to the spotlight when England players were abused during a friendly in Spain.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce said: "They racially abused him. Dwight is bitterly upset and angry.

"Apparently it is monkey taunts and that is sick. It's all right him getting a bit of stick but when it comes to what we've just seen in midweek, everybody is sickened by it."

Yorke left Rovers for St Andrew's in August, bringing to an end a tempestuous two-year association with the club.

The Trinidad international was roundly booed by fans as he warmed up and in particular when he replaced Darren Anderton as substitute.

Bruce said: "It was something similar to the racist taunts the English players had and we just don't want to see it.

"I will sit down with Dwight in the morning and go through the whole situation."

Blackburn chief executive John Williams said: "We want to talk to the police, we want to talk to our stewards, we want to review all the CCTV footage.

"We'll be very disappointed if it shows that there's been any evidence of racism, but if there has, we'll take the strongest possible action.

"This is not something that we want to tolerate at Ewood Park."

Birmingham managing director Karren Brady also stressed the importance of "stamping out" racism in English football.

"I think we've got to allow Blackburn to investigate the matter fully and then report back their findings," Brady told BBC Sport.

"Hopefully there will be a criminal investigation because racism is absolutely awful and everyone wants to stamp it out of the game totally.

"It was a very small minority but, regardless of how small it is, it is incredibly upsetting for a player and something needs to be done about it.

"John Williams is a very good chief executive and will leave no stone unturned in finding out what happened."

And the St Andrews club issued a statement which read: "Birmingham City is disappointed and sickened by the racist abuse Dwight Yorke received.

"The club has this morning spoken to Blackburn Rovers who will be thoroughly investigating the incident and reporting back on their findings as soon as possible.

"Birmingham City Football Club is a committed advocate of the 'Kick It Out' initiative and encourages its fans to support a racist-free environment.