Lancashire Police probe alleged racist abuse at Blackburn FA Cup tie against Birmingham

Neil Etheridge
Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is thought to have been subjected to racist abuse. Credit: PA Images

Lancashire Police is appealing for witnesses after reports emerged of racial abuse being directed at Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge during their FA Cup fourth-round clash with Blackburn Rovers.

The incident caused a pause in the 91st minute of the 2-2 draw following Jordan James’ stoppage-time equaliser for the visitors at Ewood Park on Saturday 28 January.

The matter was eventually handed over to police, who are now urging anyone with information or mobile phone footage of the incident to come forward. No arrests have been made so far.

PC Dan Fish said: “We take all matters of this nature extremely seriously and Lancashire Police will not tolerate hate of any form.

Birmingham's goalie Neil Etheridge is spoken to by a colleague during the FA Cup tie at Blackburn Credit: PA Images

“As part of our enquiries, we are asking for witnesses or anybody with mobile phone footage covering the Blackburn end of the stadium following Birmingham City’s equaliser to contact us.”

Rovers CEO Steve Waggott also promised to punish any perpetrators, adding: “Blackburn Rovers condemns all forms of discrimination and we will seek the strongest possible sanctions in order to tackle anti-social and/or criminal behaviour.

“The mindless minority who choose to disrespect the club and behave in an offensive manner are not welcome at Ewood Park.

“We have and will continue to work on fulfilling our community integration strategy under our OneRovers banner, so that everyone who comes to Ewood Park feels both welcome and safe in an all-embracing environment.

“We must also remind supporters that encroachment onto the pitch is a criminal offence, as well as a breach of ground regulations. Individuals identified will be issued with stadium bans and police action may also be taken.”