Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was allegedly targeted by racist abuse from a supporter during his side’s FA Cup draw at Blackburn.
A visibly upset Etheridge was seen speaking to referee Keith Stroud after teammate Jordan James had equalised in stoppage time for the Blues to secure a 2-2 draw and send the fourth-round tie back to St Andrew’s for a replay.
Birmingham’s manager, John Eustace, later confirmed the Philippines international goalkeeper had reported the incident to the official, and called the abuse “bang out of order … There’s no room for any racism in society, let alone in football. We’re really disappointed that’s happened. As a football club we don’t condone it at all and we’re fully behind him.
“The referee will report it and further action will be taken from there. It’s a very, very serious issue. Neil was shook up a little bit after the game, quite rightly so. The lads got right around him and made sure he’s OK and we’ll speak to him when we get on the bus and see how he is. The referee will report it first and foremost and it will be up to Blackburn as a club to deal with the situation.”
Birmingham said in a statement: “The club can confirm that after the game’s fourth goal, Neil Etheridge reported an incident of racism to the referee. Subsequently, the match official, Keith Stroud, delayed the restart and spoke to the head coaches and captains of each side as per competition protocol.
“This will be included in the official’s match report and the club will assist the FA and the authorities accordingly. Blues gives its full support to Neil. There is no room for racism in the game.”