Prince William has slammed the “abhorrent” racist abuse aimed at young footballers.
The 40-year-old royal – who is the president of the Football Association – has written a letter to Alpha United Juniors, who are based in Bradford, West Yorkshire, to offer support to the team after they claimed children as young as seven had been targeted with vile slurs and even threats of violence.
The Prince of Wales told the club he had contacted the FA about their allegations.
According to the Daily Mirror newspaper, he wrote: “Racism and abuse has no place in our society. Abhorrent behaviour of this nature must stop now.”
Club founder Mohammed Waheed was grateful to get the letter from William last month.
He said: “It was nice to hear. Knowing that he’s raised it.
“We’ve had 10 years of this, from the first match we played we saw racism.
“It was my under-14s team. We have had kids that have dropped out because of the abuse.”
The founder said the attacks have risen since Brexit and the club have reported up to 60 incidents but have largely stopped now, though the team have few options open to them.
He said: “You can’t abandon the game because you get fined by the FA..”
Mohammed called on the FA to change its procedures.
He added: “This stuff affects you for life.”
He first revealed the abuse in November and said since then, he has been contacted “by 40 clubs”.
West Riding FA said it is looking into incidents flagged by the clubs but suggested the club hadn’t fully cooperated.
They said: “We require witnesses to engage with our judicial process. Despite our best efforts, the club did not support this process.”
Alpha United Juniors dispute this, arguing they have provided evidence but are concerned parts of the process could compromise the anonymity of players.
The FA insisted they take all allegations of racism “extremely seriously”.
They said: “We strongly condemn all forms of offensive and discriminatory behaviour and we are determined to stamp it out of our game.
“All allegations of this nature are taken extremely seriously and we would urge anybody who has been subject to, or a witness of, incidents to report it to The FA, their local County FA, or Kick It Out.”
Originally published at www.femalefirst.co.uk