After Bolton Wanderers lost to Millwall 2-1 at the Den, Marvin Sordell took to Twitter and said that he and a few other Bolton players had faced racist abuse at the hands of some in the Millwall crowd.
Putting the match aside, its 2012 in england and people are still shouting racial abuse at a football game!? #Shocking— Marvin Sordell (@MarvinSordell) October 6, 2012
Chungy, Pratts, Benik and i had all sorts of things said to us. The police were standing yards away and did nothing...— Marvin Sordell (@MarvinSordell) October 6, 2012
Sordell was referring to Chung-Yong Lee, Darren Pratley, and Benik Afobe.
Funniest thing is if had come on and scored and gave them some back, i would be the one who got fined. #kickitout? Yeah im sure— Marvin Sordell (@MarvinSordell) October 6, 2012
Millwall, Bolton Wanderers, and the FA have concluded their investigation into the matter now and have released a joint statement saying that the culprit, a 13-year-old boy, has been found and banned.
Yes, it's all well and good that the culprit was found and rightfully punished but there's a bigger issue at hand here. The fact of the matter is that overwhelming problem of racism, something that's consistently been a storyline in world football over the last... well... what seems like forever. Finding one 13-year-old, banning him from the ground, and offering tolerance education isn't really helping the big picture.
Firstly we would like to put on record how grateful we are for the support and co-operation we have received from Bolton Wanderers and the FA in resolving what has been a challenging and topical issue over the past four weeks.
Having completed our investigations into the incident, we have identified and interviewed a 13-year-old boy who admitted a verbal exchange with Marvin Sordell in which abuse was used.
The individual has been banned from Millwall matches for the foreseeable future, but as a club we also felt, given the boy's age and background, we had a duty to play our part in attempting to educate and rehabilitate him.
Accordingly, we have offered to put him through one of our education programmes, run by Millwall for All (formerly the Millwall Anti-Racism Trust) in the hope that we can change his outlook on equality, racism and life in general.
In the meantime, the boy has written a letter to Marvin Sordell offering his apology, which has been accepted.
We would also like to put on record how disappointed everybody at Millwall FC was in the way in which the initial allegations were reported in some sections of the media.
These reports were made with no knowledge of the facts and created the impression that Bolton players were subjected to racial chanting or systematic abuse by more than one individual.
We trust that, now the facts have emerged, certain individuals will reflect on the reports they made.
Finally, it is our hope that all of us within football, including governing bodies, clubs, players, fans and the media can continue to work together to build on the progress that has been made over many years in effectively tackling the issue of racism in our game, rather than merely sensationalising, and thereby trivialising it.
The FA applauds both Millwall FC and Bolton Wanderers FC for their commitment and cooperation in ensuring a full and thorough investigation could take place.
We would also like to thank Marvin Sordell and The PFA for their assistance throughout this process.
The FA fully supports Millwall's approach in terms of dealing with the young individual responsible through a ban from the club's matches for the foreseeable future as well as offering him a place on one of its education programmes, run by Millwall for All.
As the English game's governing body, The FA continues to work closely with our partners to ensure we eradicate all forms of discrimination in football, including the important work Kick it Out undertakes with professional clubs through the Equality Standards.
Bolton Wanderers Statement
Following the conclusion of the investigation, Bolton Wanderers would like to thank the FA and Millwall for their co-operation and assistance in responding to the events at The Den.
Marvin Sordell would like to thank the FA, the PFA and Kick it Out for their support, and Millwall for the way in which they dealt with this.
Bolton Wanderers will continue to work with, and support, the FA, Kick it Out and Show Racism the Red Card in their on-going work against all forms of discrimination in football.