Hughes demands action over racism20 October 2006

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes has asked Uefa to take action over claims Benni McCarthy was racially abused during the Uefa Cup tie in Poland on Thursday.
McCarthy said he was a target during the 2-1 group win against Wisla Krakow.

Uefa has warned it may be difficult to find any “hard evidence”, but Hughes says: “Uefa should take as strong action as it is allowed to do. It is important we highlight these things because there is no place for them. This needs to be eradicated.”

Hughes said McCarthy approached Swedish referee Stefan Johannesson at half-time but still the taunts continued.

The Blackburn boss added,
“Benni was upset by a number of personal comments directed at him by one of their players. It happened right throughout the game. Benni, to his credit, did not react to them and he highlighted the issue to a number of Krakow players and the referee at half-time.

The situation still developed and there were more comments at the end of the game.

I spoke to Benni this morning as we trying to build a statement, which we will produce at some point on Friday.”

Uefa spokesman William Gaillard admitted: “We have no reason to doubt Benni's word, he has been in the game for a long time now, playing at the top level. But the problem will be finding hard evidence to pass any sanctions.”

The Football Association says it will help Blackburn pursue these claims with European football's governing body.

FA spoeksman Adrian Bevington said,
“If this is the case it is very disturbing. We treat these allegations seriously and we'll work with the club and Uefa.

Unfortunately we have seen the recent trend where when our clubs have gone away in Europe or the national side has gone away, we've seen them encounter situations of racism.

We'll wait and see what Blackburn have to say, I'm sure they will be in contact with us if that was the case.”