Worthing and Bognor issue statements as Rocks keeper appeals to fans over abuse
Worthing have reiterated that they will not tolerate supporters abusing players - as they await a report into what went on at the derby clash at Bognor yesterday. And the Rocks have said it is 'totally unacceptable' if anyone crosses a line beyond rivalry.
As we said in our match report, Rocks goalkeeper Amadou Tangara went to confront a Worthing fan behind his goal who he felt was making abusive comments to him in the first half of Tuesday afternoon's game, which Worthing won 3-1.
At half-time a tannoy announcement was made to the crowd reminding fans racist language would not be tolerated.
One Worthing fan who was behind Tangara's goal contacted the Observer to insist nothing racist was said, although he did admit to verbally abusing the goalkeeper. Tangara has confirmed on social media that the person he squared up to was not being racist, though was being abusive.
The incident - along with one in the second half in which an object was thrown on to the pitch from a Bognor fans' section behind Worthing keeper Harrison Male's goal - is likely to feature in the referee's report on the match.
Tangara himself put a statement on social media which asked fans to think before they abused players. He said he could and maybe should have walked off the pitch after abuse about the way he looks and about his family. But he added: "I decided to stay on the pitch to send a message to the whole football community.
"What saddens me most is when kids barely 10 years old join in with the abuse. We need to educate people, especially our young kids, this is not okay.
"You can support your team with passion and love without abusing others, because you don't know what your words may do to someone mentally.
"I understand the rivalry between the two clubs but as humans if we lose our sense of discernment we become worse than animals. Please be mindful and respectful of others regardless of their colour and everything else. Racism or any form of abuse is not okay and never will be.
"Stay safe everyone, look after your loved ones and show them love whilst you can."
On Wednesday afternoon Worthing FC issued a statement of their own: "In respect of the alleged abusive comments made in the game between Bognor Regis Town and Worthing Football Club... We do not condone any form of abuse to any player, supporter or official. It is totally unacceptable and has no place, whatsoever, in the game.
"We will first wait for the referee’s report and his understanding of events. We will also liaise with the Isthmian League and Bognor Regis Town Football Club, with whom the club has a very good relationship, to establish as many facts as we can around any incident that was reported. If the alleged abuse does need to be answered, then we will deal with the matter thoroughly, speedily and fairly.
"We must stress that we have an excellent fanbase who are rightly distressed that one or two individuals may have let us all down."
There was also a statement from Bognor FC, who said: "We want to communicate with supporters on the matter of alleged abuse from the stands of our keeper Amadou Tangara during yesterday's Bognor v Worthing match at Nyewood Lane. As to the content of the alleged comments, we are trying to establish this and have spoken to our friends at Worthing at the highest level in this pursuit.
"Rivalry in football is a good thing but if a line is crossed this becomes something that is totally unacceptable. Both clubs agree that in no way can the abuse of players be tolerated or condoned. We also note that the vast, vast majority of the bumper gate were impeccably behaved and were a credit to both clubs in generating a fantastic atmosphere for the derby game."