Plymouth Argyle midfielder, Jason Bent, suffered racist abuse after their 5-1 victory at Port Vale on Saturday 18 October 2003. The slur from former Austrian international, Andreas Lipa, occurred in the tunnel after the game had finished. Argyle officials stated that they are “disappointed and saddened” at the racist abuse of their player from another professional.
Ironically, the incident happened on Port Vale’s Anti-racism Day of Action. Port Vale promoted their “Valiants Against Racism” campaign, which was launched during the summer. Also, before kick-off, local children carried a banner around the ground as part of the zero-tolerance campaign, and a taped message from former Vale star Robbie Earle was played. Both teams also took to the pitch wearing white T-shirts with the ‘Let’s Kick Racism Out Of Football’ logo on the front.
“There are things more important than football. It’s a shame because we came on to the pitch with a special T-shirt against racism.” David Friio, Plymouth Argyle.
Lipa has since written to Bent expressing his “profound regret” for the racist comments he made, which were said “in the heat of the moment” and regretted immediately.
Port Vale said:
“(Lipa) wished he could turn the clock back as he is in no way racist and totally supports the major drive within football to drive out all racist abuse.”
Port Vale have fined Lipa one week’s wages which will be donated to the Charity Kick it Out! and Plymouth Argyle’s Argyle Against Racism charity.
Canadian international Bent has confirmed that in the light of that action he accepts the apology and does not wish to take the matter any further.