Notts County statement sets out zero tolerance policy on 'bullying and intimidation'

Notts County manager Chris Kiwomya. Photo: PA

Notts County have vowed to retain a zero tolerance policy on "bullying and intimidation" amid a police investigation into allegations of racial abuse at the club.

Youth team coach Brett Adams and lead foundation coach Lee Broster resigned their positions last week before a disciplinary hearing into their conduct was due to be held.

A statement released by the League One club said: "Notts County would like to reiterate the club's zero tolerance policy on any form of bullying or intimidation.

"As a club, Notts County are committed to offering a safe and enjoyable environment for all of its employees, both playing and administrative, and want every member of staff to feel comfortable in reporting any incidents that contravene this strategy.

"Recent incidents have brought the club's procedures for dealing with bullying and intimidation under scrutiny, but we are delighted to have received praise for our actions in such matters from both the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and the League Managers' Association (LMA).

"Both organisations were involved throughout a recent disciplinary issue and were impressed with how the club dealt with the issues raised, co-operating fully to ensure the most stringent possible investigation was launched.

"Whilst we cannot comment on the specifics of such actions, we would like to assure everyone associated with Notts County that we take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour seriously and will always investigate fully any accusations brought against anyone involved with the club.

"We would like to thank the PFA and the LMA for their support in investigating recent matters and will be looking to involve them in further education of all staff to ensure that Notts County Football Club is an open and inviting company for all of its employees and a credit to our local community."

Notts County's statement followed a statement from the PFA yesterday evening in which the organisation's chief executive Gordon Taylor hailed the "robust processes" in place to deal with such incidents.

Taylor also said that the players in question were ''satisfied'' with the way the matter had been dealt with.

''The PFA has been working with and supporting a group of young players at Notts County in raising allegations of bullying by some members of the coaching staff. Some of these allegations were also of a racist nature,'' said Taylor.

''We take any bullying, intimidation and racist behaviour extremely seriously and work with the relevant bodies in football to do all we can to deal with such allegations thoroughly and ultimately seek to eradicate these problems.

''The swift resolution of the incident at Notts County underlines the benefit of having a robust process in place which everyone adheres to.

''We have undertaken a considerable amount of work with young players at clubs throughout the country to educate them on inappropriate conduct and to help them identify situations of harassment, bullying, intimidation and racist behaviour and we will continue to do so.

''It is this process which gives young players the confidence to report such incidents and we give them a commitment that we will support them throughout the process should the need arise.

''We have a duty of care towards the players and in this situation we made sure that they were given immediate assistance which included being accompanied and represented at every stage of the process by the PFA.

''There is a proper process in place to deal with incidents of this nature and that process was followed by all concerned.

''Those members of the coaching staff took the decision to resign just before a disciplinary hearing and it is obviously not possible to prevent someone from resigning in these circumstances. However, the effect of their collective decision to resign was that the players were able to put this behind them and continue with their careers.

''Our first priority is protecting the players at all times and they were satisfied with the way in which the matter was dealt with.''

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Police have confirmed receiving a "third-party report" of an alleged incident and are "in the early stages of the inquiry."

Adams and Broster have so far not commented on the matter.