Ross County declare they are in the clear after police and SPFL probes into an alleged racist shout from supporter against Dundee United at Tannadice
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Ross County say “extensive investigations” by Police Scotland and the SPFL have cleared a club supporter of alleged racist abuse at Tannadice.
Dundee United reacted with fury after their player Jeando Fuchs said he had heard the fan shout a racist term at him in the first half of the 1-0 defeat.
Tangerine officials later suggested they had corroboration for the accusation and had passed findings to the SPFL and police.
County carried out their own investigation, gleaning statements from almost two dozen fans in the immediate vicinity who said they either heard nothing or only foul, non-racist language.
County were furious at Dundee United manager Tam Courts’ “pre-meditated” act in brandishing a ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ t-shirt in front of the away fans at full-time before investigations had been completed.
Club chief executive Steve Ferguson said the Highland club was “extremely disappointed” at how they, their staff and support had been portrayed by United and others in subsequent coverage.
Ferguson, in a statement, said: “We have received confirmation from the authorities that there was no evidence of racist language being used.
“We now feel that Ross County and our supporters have been fully exonerated, and we can draw conclusion to this matter.
“Given the nature of the allegation, it was centrally important that a comprehensive and thorough investigation was carried out by the relevant authorities, as Ross County FC sets very high standards in responsibly handling all concerns of hate crime.
“We would like to reiterate that any form of hate crime, including racism, has no place in society and must never be accepted in Scottish football.
“A large amount of clear and precise evidence from a significant number of witnesses and sources within the Ross County support and from personnel outwith our club was reviewed by various parties including Police Scotland.
“A report was then submitted to the SPFL and Scottish FA for their consideration.
“It was made clear from this evidence that absolutely no racist language had been
“The individual who had chanted also came forward during the investigation. His statement was corroborated by sources outwith Ross County that were in attendance.
“I would like to repeat from my initial statement that our club, staff and supporters are extremely disappointed in how we have been portrayed since the match in certain quarters, which has had a negative impact on our public perception.
“In responding to these allegations, I personally would like to thank our supporter liaison officer and our fans for the composed and responsible manner in which they have conducted themselves since the match and for the collective response and co-operation we have received.
“I would like to thank the other independent sources and personnel outside of Ross County who contributed to the thorough investigation which has been conducted.
“This has been a challenging time for everybody, we appreciate the need for clubs and officials to support their players. We also feel it is imperative that lessons are learned to ensure that agreed protocols of investigation are carried out going forward.
“We now consider this matter as closed.”
It is understood a police incident report compiled after the match was thorough and included reports of questioning that took place with many of County’s 107 fans in attendance and others in the ground.
County also took time to speak to many supporters who were appalled at the seriousness of the allegation, but insisted it was wide of the mark.
The fan came forward and identified himself after it became clear that supporters heard him shouting abuse, but non-racist abuse, at Fuchs, United’s number 66.
The player, who reported the shout to match officials, said after the game he didn’t want to press charges.
The police report is understood to have stated that due to the low number of away supporters, individual chants were “easily identifiable”.
No steward based within the area of the ground heard any racial chants or remarks. No other fans or supporters heard racial chants or remarks.
No club officials, paramedics or others in the stadium could say they heard no racial chants or remarks.
The report is also understood to have said Ross County players sitting directly underneath the away support heard nothing racist being shouted.