Video: Leeds junior football team in race row

Lutel James, right, pictured in 2011 with criminal justice minister Nick Herber and Insp Matt Davison.
Lutel James, right, pictured in 2011 with criminal justice minister Nick Herber and Insp Matt Davison.
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The manager of a boys’ football team in Leeds says racism is still “rife” in the game after his players were allegedly subjected to hate abuse.

Under-13 players from Chapeltown Juniors FC were allegedly called “n*****” and other racial slurs during a match against Tingley Athletic FC at the weekend.

Officials from the opposing club say the claims are “unsubstantiated”, but Chapeltown FC manager Lutel James has called for action to tackle the issue.

He said: “Racism is rife in all corners of the game. We need to deal with it, we need to open that can of worms that no-one seems to want to open and be honest about it.”

Mr James said he tried to get the referee – and Tingley’s coach – to address the issue during Sunday’s match, which Chapeltown eventually won 3-2. But he said neither was interested.

Following the game, in which his players were allegedly described as looking like “dog ****” he filmed the team speaking about what had happened.

The video, which was posted on social media and in which they describe themselves as being “angry”, has been viewed more than 45,000 times. Mr James said: “Mentally and psychologically they have been damaged by this. As a country it has become easier for us to just ignore this as an issue. We need to stop putting up the banners and start dealing with the problem.”

In a statement, Tingley said they were “disappointed” the matter had not been reported through official channels.

It said: “We take any accusation of racism very seriously, we will of course investigate the allegations and liaise with the FA and any other appropriate authority on both the allegations and the child welfare issues the case, and its handling raise. As ever our priority is the safety and welfare of all the children at the match.”

Alex Newman, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Leeds

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