1. ITV Report

Hartlepool United racist abuse condemned by club chief executive

Hartlepool United have issued a statement following yesterday's incident. Credit: ITV News

Hartlepool United's chief executive has condemned racial abuse hurled by fans during a clash with Dover Athletic.

The National League game was marred after players from both sides were abused on Saturday after a controversial penalty.

Stewards and players from both sides reacted to the incident.

Hartlepool had two players sent off late in the second half and a home fan tried to get to the referee after invading the pitch following a number of contentious decisions.

In club statement, chief executive Mark Maguire said:

I can honestly say that I have never witnessed a game of football like that, but it is important that we separate our reaction to the game, and the officials, to the events following Dover’s first goal.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision, or the aftermath to the penalty which was scored, Hartlepool United utterly condemn racist behaviour of any description.

As I understand it, in this, the early stages after the event, individuals have been identified and will be dealt with in the strongest possible manner by both the club and police. Equally, I personally spoke to the people on the receiving end of the abuse, assuring them that we would take the necessary action.

We also made a public announcement at half time, setting out our condemnation of such behaviour, whilst I also spoke with the Chairman of Dover to offer my apology.

As a Club we will protect the principles held by the vast majority of our fan base who would be insulted by their reputation being tarnished in this manner. In these type of circumstances actions speak louder than words and we will be judged accordingly.

On days like today, Directors, Management and staff of both clubs have a responsibility to stand up and be counted, and we have no hesitation in reacting in the strongest possible manner.

Of a completely separate nature is any concern surrounding events on and off the pitch during and immediately after the game, and we will deal with this accordingly with the appropriate authorities.

– Mark Maguire, Hartlepool United

Following the game Pools boss Craig Hignett admitted he had discussed taking the players off the field with his Dover counterpart.