FA urged to act over Wright 'abuse' allegations

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The Independent Online

The Football Association has been urged to act over alleged racial abuse in the game after a referee made an allegation against the former England defender Mark Wright.

Wright, manager of Third Division Oxford United, has denied any allegations of racism made by the black referee Joe Ross. Ross claimed in a report he submitted to the FA that he was racially abused by the former Liverpool defender.

The FA found Wright guilty of ''abusive, indecent and insulting'' language but failed to follow up the race claims.

''I have been charged with foul and abusive language, that's it,'' Wright said yesterday. ''I deny the allegations of racism completely and utterly.''

Ross had sent off two Oxford players and dismissed Wright from the dug-out during the home game with Scunthorpe Untied on 20 October ­ Racial Awareness Day. Wright has since been fined £1,750 by the FA's disciplinary committee and handed a four-game touchline ban.

Keith Cooper, the chairman of the Association of Premiership and Football League referees, said: "The association finds it deplorable that racial remarks were made to one of our members."

Piara Power, national co-ordinator of the anti-racism football campaign Kick It Out, said yesterday: "We want to get to the bottom of these allegations. We welcome the fact that there are people like Joe Ross refereeing matches at a high level. But clearly if this sort of thing is going on, that's not going to encourage other people from ethnic minorities to become referees."

The FA will study reports from the police and the referee Jeff Winter before deciding whether to charge Tottenham over their fans' behaviour at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal's former Spurs defender Sol Campbell was abused throughout Saturday's match and the north London club could face FA action after supporters pelted the Gunners' team bus with bottles and cans and also allegedly hurled bottles at Campbell on the pitch. An FA spokesman, Paul Newman, said: "We will await the reports from the referee, other match officials and police before deciding whether any action is appropriate. We will be looking at events in and around the ground."

The FA is believed to want to examine an incident after the match when the Arsenal team bus was leaving the ground. The coach was showered with dozens of glasses and bottles, thrown from the beer garden of a pub next to the club's car park.

Robert Pires yesterday described the Australia and Wolves defender Kevin Muscat as "a dreamer and a liar". Muscat accused the Arsenal winger of spitting at him during last Sunday's fiery 1-1 draw with France in Melbourne.

But Pires has encouraged Muscat to apologise to Bordeaux's Christophe Dugarry, who was injured in a tackle by the right-back, and believes the Australian raised the spitting issue to take the heat off himself. "Muscat is a dreamer and a liar," Pires said. "I never spat on him ­ I've never spat on anybody in a game. It's not my style. This guy is crazy. He has to be careful. If I see Muscat again I'll have a chat to him because what he said wasn't nice."

The Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn is prepared to surrender his World Cup ambitions and pull out of Mick McCarthy's squad if he is not 100 per cent fit. The Sunderland striker, who is plagued by back trouble, said he "could not live with himself" if he took another forward's place in the squad when he knew he was not at the peak of his fitness.

Quinn, who missed Thursday's World Cup play-off second leg against Iran in Tehran, said: "I'll have to be honest and not take someone's place if I'm not fit. I couldn't live with myself if I took someone's seat."

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