FA asks Uefa to look at McCarthy racism claims

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The Independent Football

The Football Association has asked the European governing body Uefa to investigate claims of racism made by the Blackburn striker Benni McCarthy.

The 28-year-old South African alleged he had been abused by Wisla Krakow's Serbian defender, Nikola Mijailovic, in their Uefa Cup match on Thursday night. Blackburn have called for strong action to be taken, and the FA confirmed: "We have written to Uefa, asking them to investigate allegations of racism made against Benni McCarthy by Nikola Mijailovic."

Blackburn confirmed that a statement from McCarthy and another player who witnessed the alleged abuse had been forwarded to Uefa and the FA.

The club are backing McCarthy and the manager Mark Hughes said: "The issue regarding Benni overshadowed our performance - but we must try to take this kind of thing out of football. If you ignore it and accept it, it will continue to be in the game. 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. There is banter and sledging but this was a lot stronger than that. It is important to make a stand, not just from the game's point of view but the relationship with our players. Obviously Benni feels very strongly about the situation as we do as a club."

Hughes said McCarthy approached the Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson at half-time, but the taunts continued. "I think people can make up their own mind as to what these comments were," the manager said. "Benni, to his credit, did not react to them. He highlighted the issue to a number of Krakow players and the referee at half-time. The situation still developed and there were more comments at the end of the game."

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