Walsall FC have responded to allegations of racism from a section of the crowd during their match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, saying those found guilty of racist abuse will be banned from the Banks's Stadium for life.
The club say they are working closely with Wolverhampton Wanderers and the police to investigate the alleged racist abuse, aimed at two Wolves players during the match.
Walsall Football Club can confirm that we have been in dialogue with our counterparts from Wolverhampton Wanderers regarding allegations that two of their players were subjected to racist abuse during the course of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One fixture.
We are taking this matter very seriously and will fully co-operate with West Midlands Police and Wolverhampton Wanderers throughout this investigation.
Both Wolves and Walsall are fiercely committed to stamping out all types of discrimination within football and will vigorously investigate any and all allegations of racist abuse.
Should anyone be found guilty of the above allegations, they will be issued with a lifetime ban from Banks’s Stadium.
As the matter is being investigated, the club can make no further comment at this stage.
Wolverhampton Wanderers have made an official complaint to the FA and to Walsall FC over alleged racism during the match between the two sides at the Banks's Stadium on Saturday.
In a statement, the club say racist abuse was aimed at defender George Elokobi in the first half while he warmed up as a substitute, and abuse aimed at goalkeeper Carl Ikeme came from behind the goal in the second half.
The statement continued:
The complaint relates to a small number of individuals in the crowd at Saturday’s game and will not sour the good relationship that exists between the two clubs.
Both Wolves and Walsall are fiercely committed to stamping out all types of discrimination within football and will vigorously investigate all allegations of racist abuse.
Wolves will always strongly support its players who are the victims of discrimination, and Carl Ikeme and George Elokobi both displayed admirable restraint in the face of receiving the abuse on Saturday.
Kenny Jackett also commented on the situation:
Both Carl and George received racist abuse at the game on Saturday and we have made an official complaint both to Walsall and the Football Association.
We were disappointed by what was said to our players but we have a lot of respect for Walsall Football Club and we know this will be down to individuals.
There is no place for racism either in football or in society and as a Head Coach and as a club we will back our players if they are on the end of it. We have made our statement and gone about things in the right way and will now leave the authorities to deal with the situation.
Walsall boss Dean Smith has committed his future to the League One club by signing a new two-and-a-half-year deal at Bank's Stadium.
The new deal will take Smith to the end of the 2014/2015 football season, he says looking forward to the future:
“I am delighted that the club has offered me this new deal and I am only too pleased to pledge my future to Walsall FC.
“We have a strategy in place here and a policy running throughout the whole club that will allow us to move forward together and get to where we want to be. Having this deal allows me to continue to plan ahead and build.
“The foundations are the most important part of any building process and we have carefully put these in place during my time here."
The 19 year-old came through the Leeds United youth system.
He made some early appearances at Doncaster Rovers before being sent out on loan, ending last term at Hereford United.
He will wear the number 24 shirt.
“We see him as someone who is really going to push on and do well for us. He’s a ball carrier who can see a pass and has the ability to unlock defences. He will bring an exciting dimension to our play.” -Manager, Dean Smith