'Life ban' call over racial abuse of Mohamed Salah

Salah was taunted during Liverpool's 1-1 draw at West Ham. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019

'Life ban' call over racial abuse of Mohamed Salah

  • Police given evidence after an investigation into Islamophobic abuse shouted at Egyptian ace.
  • Football Against Racism in Europe call for life bans for those found guilty of racial abuse.

LONDON: West Ham United have handed evidence to the police after completing an investigation into Islamophobic abuse shouted at Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah during their Premier League clash at the London Stadium
on Monday.
A video emerged on social media in which audible racial slurs were directed at the Egypt and Reds star man as he was taking a corner. The match finished in a 1-1 draw.
The user who posted the video on Twitter said: “I went to watch West Ham vs Liverpool and I was disgusted by what I was hearing. People like this deserve no place in our society let alone football matches.”
The Metropolitan Police had said that officers were in the process of reviewing the footage and West Ham have now revealed that they have given all of their evidence to the police.
Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini has demanded a life ban for the culprits, and a West Ham statement said: “After a thorough and immediate investigation following the abhorrent racist abuse aimed at Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah on Monday night, West Ham United can confirm that it has handed evidence to the Metropolitan Police.
“The Club is unequivocal in its stance — such abuse will not be tolerated. There is no place or excuse for this kind of behavior.”
While there have undoubtedly been great strides taken in football to tackle racist abuse from the stands, the sorry Salah abuse follows allegations of discriminatory chanting by Chelsea and Millwall supporters in recent weeks.
Piara Powar, the executive director of anti-discrimination charity FARE ((Football Against Racism in Europe), described the number of recent incidents of reported racism as “alarming”, and added that closing stadiums may be the only logical next step in combating abuse.
“The number and frequency of recent incidents in England is quite alarming,” Powar said. “Football seems to have a rump of fans who have trouble accepting the diversity of our country. I also think it points to the divisions that have opened up in the UK since Brexit.
“I think the FA must get a grip on the problem,” Powar added. “They do a lot of good work, but they should use the powers they have to close stadiums, and ban and fine clubs. The FA regulations allow for it, but the measures are rarely used.”
Since his move to Liverpool Salah has been a transformative figure, breaking down barriers. Go to Anfield and, once the rousing rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” has died down, it is likely you will next hear the Liverpool fans’ hymn to Salah. Sung to the tune of “Good Enough” by Britpop band Dodgy, it goes like this: “If he’s good enough for you, he’s good enough for me, if he scores another few, then I’ll be a Muslim, too.” That he has been welcomed with open arms and lauded — albeit in a city with a tradition of tolerance — is to be applauded, not least at a time when Islamaphobic attacks in the UK are on the rise.
Salah was last year named PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers’ Association’s Footballer of the Year after he scored 44 goals for Liverpool last season.
The Egyptian ace will be key in the Reds’ search for their first league title since 1990, Liverpool face Bournemouth at home today.


Australia salvage a draw in second Ashes Test at Lord’s, stay 1-0 ahead of England

Updated 19 min 28 sec ago

Australia salvage a draw in second Ashes Test at Lord’s, stay 1-0 ahead of England

LONDON: Australia defied the absence of star batsman Steve Smith because of a concussion and more devastating spells of pace bowling by Jofra Archer to hold out for a draw in the second Ashes Test against England on Sunday.
Set an improbable victory target of 267 off 48 overs at Lord’s, the Australians quickly slumped to 47-3 but a fourth-wicket stand of 85 between Marnus Labuschagne (59) and Travis Head (42 not out) helped push them to safety.
Australia lost three more wickets in a five-over stretch to keep the match alive as the light faded, but managed to survive to 154-6 at the end.
Australia retain a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
Labuschagne had an interesting day. He only found out he’d be playing as Test cricket’s first-ever concussion substitute when Smith was withdrawn from the team early Sunday after waking up with a headache and feeling groggy after being hit in the neck by an Archer bumper on Saturday.
Labuschagne came to the middle with Australia struggling on 19-2 after 5.3 overs and, off the second ball he faced, was hit on the grille of his helmet by another vicious delivery from Archer. The batsman dropped to the ground, was checked out by medical staff and required a new helmet.
In a blistering spell by Archer, balls flew past Labuschagne but he survived and looked more comfortable in the final session as England’s hopes began to dwindle at the home of cricket. He finally departed, somewhat controversially, when England captain Joe Root was adjudged to have got his fingers under a diving catch at midwicket from Labuschagne’s sweep.
It was Labuschagne’s second half-century in his sixth Test and he could stay in the team for the third Test starting Thursday at Headingley, with Smith’s availability in doubt.
With Australia currently holding the Ashes urn, the English need to win two of the final three tests to take it off their fierce rivals.
Archer’s performance at Lord’s on his test debut will give England real hope, though. He was a permanent menace, taking 2-59 off 29 overs in the first innings and then 3-32 off 15 overs in the second.
A day after flooring Smith with a vicious 92 mph delivery, the Barbados-born quick removed David Warner for 5 — his fourth straight single-figure score this series — and then Usman Khawaja for 2 to catches behind the wicket.
He peppered Bancroft and Labuschagne with missiles but they lasted until tea.
Bancroft (16) was trapped lbw by spinner Jack Leach early in the final session but England could only make further inroads when it was too late.
After Labuschagne’s departure, Leach removed Matthew Wade for 1 before Joe Denly produced a sensational one-handed catch at midwicket off Archer to take out Australia captain Tim Paine for 4.
Head, who was dropped on 22 by Jason Roy at second slip, persevered and Archer had to be withdrawn from the attack late on because of the poor light. He put his hat back on, and Australia’s players could breathe a sigh of relief.
Earlier, Ben Stokes brought up his seventh Test century before England declared their second innings on 258-5 — the same total the team was all out for in its first innings.
Stokes was unbeaten on 115 after hitting 11 fours and three sixes at the ground where he helped win the Cricket World Cup for England barely a month ago. Jonny Bairstow was not out on 30.
England resumed Sunday on 96-4 in its second innings and added 162 runs before declaring midway through the second session.