FA to examine Cole claims

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The Independent Football

West Ham striker Carlton Cole's insistence that he was racially abused by Millwall fans is being dealt with as part of the Football Association's wider investigation into the violence that shamed English football on Tuesday night.

Cole claims to have been the victim of racist 'monkey' taunts from Millwall fans, while Jason Price was also reportedly targeted by home fans during the Carling Cup tie between both clubs at the Boleyn Ground on Tuesday night.

The FA are aware of Cole's allegations and they will be looked at amid their thorough investigation into the events of the night.

In the meantime, football's 'Kick It Out' organisation believes the game will have suffered another "depressing development" if racist chanting allegations against both players are proven.

The tie, which West Ham won 3-1, was marred by three pitch invasions with fans also confronting police inside and outside the ground on a night of shame for English football.

One man was also stabbed as fighting between rival fans took place outside the ground.

But the game's equality and inclusion organisation insists that if the racist allegations are true then it will heap more misery on the game's reputation.

Lord Herman Ouseley, founder and chair of Kick It Out, football's equality and inclusion campaign, said: "If there were racist chants being directed at any of the players involved, then it's a depressing development on an already shameful night.

"Football in this country has come a long way in recent history. Our vying for the World Cup bid is a prime example.

"Incidents like this, however, demonstrate the work still to be done. With the help of our partners, and the fans, we're determined to continue making football a racism free environment."

Cole's allegations have yet to be proven as both the police and the football authorities investigate the appalling scenes that marred the cup tie which West Ham won 3-1.

Meanwhile, former West Ham defender Julian Dicks felt the actions of the so-called fans tarnished the name of his old club.

Dicks had a reputation for being a hard-tackling defender in his day but even he was left sickened by the actions of the fans.

Dicks told BBC Radio Five Live: "I thought it was absolutely disgraceful.

"I know West Ham and Millwall fans have grievances but it wasn't a nice thing to watch. It was pretty sickening to see."

However, midfielder Jack Collison has thanked West Ham fans for their "incredible" support following the death of his father.

The Wales international bravely played in Tuesday's Carling Cup tie against Millwall despite losing his dad 48 hours earlier in a tragic road accident.

Collison remained on the pitch for five minutes to applaud the supporters for giving him the strength to play.

The 20-year-old, who had members of his family watching as he played the full 120 minutes, was clearly overcome and was consoled by team-mates and backroom staff.

"I just want to thank our fans for their tremendous support at what is such a difficult time for me and my family," said Collison.

"It was incredible. It is something I will never ever forget and I will be trying my best to repay them on the pitch in all our matches."