JUNIOR FOOTBALL should be a lesson for life.
As well as learning passing and the offside rule, our young players should also be gaining experience in teamwork, comradeship and how to win (and lose) with grace.
They should also be learning how to get on with people of different backgrounds and races to themselves.
So it is sad that a manager of a boys’ football team says racism is rife in the game and that his under-13s team was subjected to hate abuse.
Lutel James, manager of Chapeltown Juniors’ under-13s, says such abuse is commonplace. Officials from the opposition club says that claims are unsubstantiated, that they take such claims of racism seriously and that the safety and welfare of children is always their priority.
The football authorities - who can be proud of the way their game generally brings people together - need to investigate.
Mr James said it was much too important an issue to ignore. He is right.
Whatever happened in this case, this is a vital issue which the clubs involved cannot ignore.
It is hard enough for adults to cope with such abuse, let alone youngsters who are not yet in their teens.
Only if this matter is properly investigated can people have faith in grassroots football.