Ridsdale takes hard line on racists

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The Independent Online

The Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale has vowed to rid his club of racist fans and their abusive chants.

Ridsdale was yesterday moved to issue a statement of intent following complaints on Monday from the Leicester chairman John Elsom that Leeds fans were guilty of unacceptable behaviour during Saturday's Premiership match at Filbert Street.

"Following events at Filbert Street we have assured the Leicester and West Yorkshire police forces that we will work with them to identify fans who chanted racist abuse," said Ridsdale. "It is a very serious issue."

Ridsdale added his club have long been and will continue to be committed to eradicating racist behaviour among their fans. "We have been working for many years to rid ourselves of the fans who indulge in racist chants or use foul and abusive language at our games," he said.

"No Premier League club are taking a more rigorous stance in meting out the right bans to fans found guilty of these offences."

Ridsdale believes his club may well have the wherewithal to contribute significantly to police inquiries to track down the offenders.

"We hope the Leicester police have video evidence available of those supporters who caused offence at Filbert Street," he said.

"We have on our club database names, addresses and photographs of all the adult travelling Leeds fans.

"We will do everything in our power to help the police put names to faces."

Ridsdale's contribution to the cause will not end there, though, because he accepts more must be done to keep the racists out.

"I have also invited Piara Powar from the 'Kick it Out' [anti-racism] campaign to meet me at the earliest opportunity," he said.

"I want to hear his views on our best way forward and I also want to re-emphasise our collective belief in what we are doing at Elland Road.

"We have made massive strides in our award-winning work in the community.

"We will rid ourselves of the minority who caused offence at Leicester."

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