Police and The FA investigate allegations of racist abuse and violence at football match in Tunbridge Wells
The Police and The Football Association are investigating disturbing scenes at a football match in Tunbridge Wells last Saturday.
Beckenham Town scored a last-gasp penalty kick winner to beat Tunbridge Wells 2-1 at Culverden Stadium in the Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division, to leapfrog over Chatham Town to reach the top of the table.
Striker Ryan Hall, 31, held his nerve to score the match winning spot-kick and Beckenham Town officials say that members of Hall’s family were allegedly racially abused by home fans on the terracing, which sparked unsavoury incidents between players and supporters from both sides.
“On Saturday 5 October 2019 during our Southern Counties East Football League fixture against Tunbridge Wells Football Club at Culverden Stadium, a number of incidents occurred whereby Beckenham Town FC players and supporters were subjected to racist and physical abuse by Tunbridge Wells FC supporters,” said a Beckenham Town Football Club statement.
“The incidents in question have now been reported to The Football Association, Kent Football Association, London Football Association, the Southern Counties East Football League and Kick It Out.
“Racism has no place in football, in society, in life. Beckenham Town FC strongly condemns the use of racist and discriminatory language and we will continue to support the players and supporters involved in these abhorrent incidents.
“As the matter is now in the hands of The Football Association, County FA’s and Kick It Out we will make no further comment at this time.”
A Tunbridge Wells Football Club statement said: “A series of incidents took place off the pitch culminating in a serious injury to a Tunbridge Wells Football Club player. The player required hospital treatment and will also require follow-up surgery.
“The matter has been reported to the Police, Kent Football Association and the Southern Counties East Football League Board.
“Tunbridge Wells Football Club utterly condemns the use of violence against players or supporters and will be seeking to ensure that those involved are brought to justice.
“The club fully acknowledges that the events which took place were shocking, distressing and frightening for those that witnessed them; especially for the many members of our Junior Football Club who were in attendance.
“Incidents like these have no place in football and the club will be making the strongest possible representations to the appropriate authorities to ensure that this is never allowed to happen again.
“Tunbridge Wells Football Club prides itself on being a safe and secure environment to watch football for anyone, irrespective of age, colour or gender. The Board of Directors will do everything possible to ensure this remains the case.
“The thoughts of everyone at Tunbridge Wells Football Club are with the players and supporters who were affected by the events last Saturday.
“Given that police enquires are now underway, the club do not want to prejudice any subsequent police investigation and will not be making any further comment.”
The Southern Counties East Football League issued their statement on its website on Wednesday.
The League is situated at tiers nine and ten of English football and contains teams from Kent, East Sussex, Surrey and south-east London.
The League said: “Disciplinary matters such as those that happened at that game fall within the County FA/FA jurisdiction and not that of the League. The SCEFL will assist the County FA’s/The FA however it can.
“The League believes that violence and discrimination, as is alleged to have happened on the day, is unacceptable.
“However, until the relevant authorities have completed their investigations, and any charges brought are concluded, we are not allowed to take any action or make further comment.”