Sun, Oct 22, 2006 - Page 24 News List

Benni McCarthy asks UEFA to investigate racial abuse claims


Benni McCarthy has asked European football's governing body UEFA to investigate racist abuse he allegedly suffered at the hands of Polish side Wisla Krakow and their Serbian defender Nikola Mijailovic.

The black South African striker squared up to Mijailovic at the end of Blackburn's 2-1 UEFA Cup win in Krakow on Thursday night after being allegedly provoked by the defender.

Blackburn said on Friday that McCarthy and another player who overheard the abuse had made a statement on the incident which has been forwarded to UEFA and the English Football Association.

The English club also revealed that McCarthy had mentioned the abuse to Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson at half-time during the match, apparently to no avail.

Blackburn have offered strong backing to McCarthy and manager Mark Hughes praised the striker for taking a stand and for having kept his cool on Thursday night.

"If you ignore it and accept it, it will continue to be in the game," Hughes said. "We have done great work in this country with the `Kick It Out' campaign. Maybe other countries are lagging behind us in that respect. There is no place for abuse like this in sport or in life."

Hughes added: "Benni to his credit did not react. He highlighted the issue to a number of Krakow players and the referee at half-time. But the situation still developed and there were more comments at the end of the game."

UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said the allegations would be looked into but admitted it could be difficult to secure enough evidence to justify action against the player or his club.

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