Rhian Brewster: England and Liverpool striker alleges racial abuse


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England and Liverpool youngster Rhian Brewster says he has experienced racial abuse on the pitch since he was 12.

The 17-year-old striker says he has been targeted five times and that there were two other incidents aimed at his team-mates.

Brewster, who helped England lift the Under-17 World Cup, criticised football's authorities, saying there needs to be "more severe punishments".

"It's just disappointing it's still in the game," Brewster told the Guardian.

European football's governing body Uefa told BBC Sport they would not speak about a pending hearing. And Fifa, world football's governing body, was unavailable to comment.

But football anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out said Brewster was "brave" for speaking out and added: "It is time for the relevant authorities to act on this unacceptable behaviour."

Kick It Out's European counterpart Fare said: "No young person should have to face this abuse."

The teenager says that the incidents occurred against foreign teams while he was playing for both club and country.

"If it wasn't in the game, it would be so much better," Brewster added.

"You wouldn't have to worry about playing abroad, worrying about what the fans are going to say, or what another player is going to say.

"I wouldn't have to worry that if I score they are going to call me all types of names."

'It needs more severe punishments'

Brewster won the golden boot during the Under-17 World Cup in India for top-scoring with eight goals.

He claimed a team-mate was racially abused by an opposition player during the 5-2 win over Spain in the final.

"They were telling us to win respectfully," said Brewster.

"I started laughing. I said: 'How can you tell us to win respectfully when one of your players has been racist? What about your team-mate being respectful to us?'"

Brewster alleged he was racially abused while playing for Liverpool in a Uefa Youth League game against Spartak Moscow at Prenton Park.

Uefa charged Spartak defender Leonid Mironov in December and European football's governing body said the case would be dealt with by their Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, with a date for the hearing yet to be confirmed.

In September, Liverpool's Nigeria-born forward Bobby Adekanye was subjected to racist chants and gestures from Spartak supporters in Moscow.

Uefa charged Spartak, who had to partially close their academy stadium for their next Uefa Youth League fixture, leaving 500 seats empty.

Brewster added: "Everyone stands behind the anti-racism banners" but "it still happens".

"To be honest, I don't think there is any point. It needs more severe punishments," he said.

Klopp praises 'brave' Brewster

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Brewster for being "brave enough to do what he did".

"I'm really long in this sport and never faced a situation like that," he added. "You think it doesn't happen but obviously it happens all the time.

"It's such an important thing and I really can't believe people still have these thoughts in their mind. It's so strange in this world that it happens.

"We needed a 17-year-old boy to say it is still happening and it happens all the time.

"It's not a situation where you want a 17-year-old to be in but if it's like this he needs help and we give it to him of course."

The alleged incidents

In the Guardian article, the incidents of racial abuse experienced by Brewster were:

  • Aged 12, playing for former club Chelsea in a tournament in Russia
  • During a youth tournament with Liverpool in the Czech Republic in 2015
  • England v Ukraine during the European U17 Championship in Croatia in May
  • During a Liverpool's U19s match at home against Sevilla
  • England v Spain at the U17 World Cup in October
  • In Liverpool's Uefa Youth league match at Spartak Moscow
  • During Liverpool v Spartak Moscow

Original Article

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