No charges against Reds fan accused of abusing Adeyemi
IT WAS revealed today that the Liverpool fan arrested following an incident involved Oldham’s Tom Adeyemi will not be prosecuted. Adeyemi, on loan from Norwich City, alleged that he’d heard the fan shout racial abuse at him towards the end of Liverpool’s 5-1 win in the FA Cup tie. The 20-year-old fan, from Aintree, denied the accusations and after reviewing the evidence the CPS made their decision not to bring charges.
The decision was made by Jane Roden, Head of the Complex Casework Unit at CPS Mersey-Cheshire. She was quoted today outlining her reasons:
“I have considered a file of evidence submitted by Merseyside Police, relating to an incident which occurred on January 6 when Liverpool and Oldham Athletic met in the FA Cup.
“In the 79th minute of the game, Oldham Athletic player Tom Adeyemi alleged that a fan had shouted a racially abusive comment at him, after he retrieved the ball from near the crowd. “Mr Adeyemi reported the incident to the referee. The referee notified the fourth official, who then notified the police.
“No action was taken until after the final whistle. Mr Adeyemi spoke to officers after the match and gave a statement to the police on January 8.
“A suspect was identified and arrested. During interview he admitted shouting at the player, but denied it was of a racial nature. He was released on police bail pending a decision from the CPS.
“I have viewed the extensive CCTV footage available, which has been enhanced to isolate and improve the sound. I have also read statements from Mr Adeyemi, the match officials and the many independent witnesses to the incident, many of whom came forward after the game to offer their evidence after hearing media reports of the incident.
“There are two important factors I have relied upon when making my decision: the enhanced CCTV footage and the high proportion of witness statements which tend to support the suspect’s version of events.
“On the balance of all of the evidence, I have therefore concluded that there is insufficient evidence to bring any criminal charges in this case and I have advised Merseyside Police of my decision.”
Liverpool announced after the match that they would provide all available footage to the police, including CCTV footage and footage recorded or broadcast by their own TV cameras. Television footage showed Adeyemi shouting at a fan on the Kop from the pitch, before his team-mates led him away. He appeared to be in tears at what he thought he’d heard.
After the incident Adeyemi sent thanks to all of those fans who’d shown him support:
“I would like to thank everybody who has sent messages of support — they haven’t only been from Latics and Liverpool fans but from all over the country.
“I have received lots of e-mails as well as hand-written letters and it has been brilliant to know such a lot of people are supporting me. It is for others to deal with and all I want to do is to concentrate on my football and make sure it doesn’t affect my game.”
Adeyemi clearly made the allegations based on what he genuinely thought he had heard but it seems he might well have heard wrong. The climate at the time of the incident was such, however, that this would be no surprise. Certain anti-discrimination campaigners and members of the press were whipping up a storm as part of a campaign that had long since lost its way.
Reports immediately after the incident suggested the alleged abuse had come from two fans wearing Luis Suarez t-shirts, a ‘fact’ soon discovered to be untrue.
Piara Powar, head of FARE, said at the time:
“I’m afraid there is no question that the club’s approach has stoked this affair, and there is now a highly charged atmosphere around the issue. The Suarez T-shirts surely no longer have a place at Anfield.”
“This has done a lot of damage to Liverpool FC and in many people’s eyes to English football. We have a young footballer in Tom Adeyemi who was abused quite badly at Anfield. Young footballers do not get that upset without due cause. The abuser has been charged and it is for the courts to decide the context of it.”
Powar also tweeted, long before any facts were known:
“The obvious thing for LFC today must be to come out as a club – owner, manager, captain – and start to undo some of the damage, including addressing their fans.
“Go onto the LFC website and there is not a single expression of regret about what happened last night.
“Are LFC fans going to do this at every game, support the mistakes made by their own man [Luis Suárez] by abusing others?
“25% of PL players are black. That’s a lot of players to abuse.”
Powar seemed unconcerned that a fair percentage of Liverpool supporters aren’t white and seemed to be suggesting that the majority – if not all – of Liverpool fans were racist. However, as Powar is yet to apologise for calling an Asian supporter a “coconut” (after the Asian fan had expressed support for Suarez), he’s unlikely to apologise for his ill-advised scathing attacks on Liverpool supporters as a whole over the past few months.
The FA, initially, refused to comment on Powar’s “coconut” jibe, instead pointing out that he worked for FARE. Later on, after more correspondence was exchanged, the Respect Team at the FA sent the following response:
“This email when received was passed onto the relevant people at The FA.
“The Discipline Manager has stated that the matter is in hand.”
That was on 15th February, we are yet to hear any more from that Discipline Manager.
The response from Richard Bates of Kick It Out suggested that organisation had washed its hands of Powar:
“Please resend this message to the following address – email@example.com”
Show Racism the Red Card didn’t reply.
The only comment we were able to get from FARE about Powar’s insult came after asking a number of times, in an email from someone there called Claudia:
“Thank you for your email. My apology for not getting back to you earlier.
“We take note of your concerns. However I have to inform you that we are unable to make any comments on this issue.”
Powar (and his organisation) is still taken seriously by certain news outlets, presumably unaware of his alarming personal views on the issue of racism. Perhaps now is the time to take a different approach to selecting mouthpieces for quotes after incidents of alleged racial abuse in football. The problem needs to be dealt with properly, not used as a means to shift papers or childishly score points over others.