Phoenix take racism claims 'very seriously'

Last updated 15:50 17/12/2012
Paul Ifill
Getty Images
TAUNTED: Paul Ifill has claimed he was the target of racial abuse from Adelaide fans.

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The Wellington Phoenix are confident Football Australia will "fully investigate" allegations of racially abusive comments against Paul Ifill by an Adelaide United fan.

Ifill, an English-born Barbados international, says he was racially vilified by a minority of the Hindmarsh Stadium crowd during his club's 3-1 loss.

Police are now investigating the incident and a Football Federation Australia spokesman said the governing body would also investigate.

''FFA will investigate any incidence of racial vilification,'' the spokesman said.

The Phoenix released a statement this afternoon, saying they were taking the allegations "very seriously".

 "The Club has formally approached the FFA this morning to ask for their assistance in ensuring that the incident is fully investigated," the Phoenix said in the statement.

"We have also been in communication with Adelaide United regarding the incident and have accepted Adelaide United's unequivocal apology for the incident.

"We are satisfied that Adelaide United, the FFA and the South Australian Police are taking all the appropriate steps necessary.

"The Club is committed to ensuring that our players are not subject to any form of racial abuse at any time."

The Phoenix said they wouldn't be commenting on the matter again while it was being investigated.

An upset Ifill took to Twitter after the loss, saying: ''Bad times poor result and racist abuse from a very small minority of fans #nothappy.''

Ifill, who has spent the majority of his career playing in England, said the Phoenix had reported the incident.

 His claims were backed up by teammates, who also expressed their disgust on Twitter.

''Unbelievable the things I heard from the bench...it's 2012 people,'' wrote midfielder Alex Smith, who was on the bench at the time.

''I'll leave it for now but I will say it was very racist and disgraceful...''

Adelaide captain Eugene Galekovic says the abuse shouldn't be tolerated.

"I don't condone racial sledges or anything like that but I don't know what was said so I will leave it up to the club," Galekovic told reporters in Adelaide.

"Racial abuse is something different ... society these days, there is a line and you can't really cross that line anymore."

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AAP reported a spectator was heard to call Ifill a derogatory racial term.

-With AAP

- © Fairfax NZ News

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