Queens Park Rangers deny that youth player spat to provoke racist abuse

Rangers have contacted Fifa over incident in Spain
AD Nervión president admits his player made remark

Queens Park Rangers withdrew their youth players from the pitch after the incident in Spain.
Queens Park Rangers withdrew their youth players from the pitch after the incident in Spain. Photograph: Andrew Fosker/BPI/Shutterstock

Queens Park Rangers have rejected an allegation from the president of AD Nervión that one of their under-18 players spat in the face of an opponent and provoked the racist abuse that culminated in QPR walking off during a friendly in Spain.

The Championship club’s youth side were withdrawn by their coach, Paul Furlong, last week after players complained they had been subjected to monkey noises and racist abuse from their Seville-based opponents.

It is understood QPR’s players informed the referee during the game of three separate incidents of alleged racism during the second half and, once the official had failed to take appropriate action, were instructed to leave the playing area by their coaching staff. The official was an independent referee.

They have been in dialogue with the Football Association since returning from Spain, with QPR having now contacted Fifa to make them aware of the incident. The Andalusian football federation has opened its own investigation into the allegations.

The AD Nervión president, Manolo Fernández, admitted one of his club’s players had said something that “would seem to be inappropriate” after a confrontation in a bad-tempered game but suggested the teenager had been provoked by an opponent spitting in his face. QPR have rejected the allegation.

“One of their players, much taller than our player, spat down into his face,” Fernández said. “In that moment our player said something to him. I don’t know what but from what they have said it would seem to be something inappropriate.

“It is not at all acceptable what he said. What the other boy did isn’t acceptable either. They are two kids. If it had been a 50-year-old in the stands who had said something about someone’s sexuality, their colour or race, then it might be [different] but it is two kids. If he did say something pejorative, he should not have done, absolutely not.

“Someone took them off the pitch. I didn’t know what had happened. It created a scene. I’m not sure who it was [that decided] or if that was the best thing to do: maybe someone better prepared would have done something different. They said they had been warned not to come: if I get warned not to go somewhere, I don’t go.”

Fernández also said his club had hoped the matter might be resolved in a meeting between the players and had been willing to submit a letter of apology to QPR.

Furlong’s decision to call his players from the pitch was in line with a protocol that had been discussed and agreed by QPR’s Under-18s during an equality and diversity session with Kick It Out.

The club have backed their coach and players, with the QPR chief executive, Lee Hoos, calling on Uefa to take a tougher stance against racism.