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Villa 'disgusted' by its fans' racist chanting

Club promises to 'severely' deal with repeat incidents as Kick It Out calls for more 'concrete measures' against incidents

ASTON VILLA today has said it is “disgusted and appalled” by social media footage which shows Villa fans chanting a racist song about two of the team’s players.

A video following Villa’s Saturday’s 5-1 win at Norwich shows a group of Villa’s fans singing about the club’s star Zimbabwean midfielder Marvelous Nakamba and one other player, with references to several racial stereotypes including relating to slavery.

Aston Villa Supporters’ Trust said of the abuse: “It’s a cheap and insulting stereotype that has no place in this day and age. Racist stereotypes are never acceptable. Hiding so-called support behind such words is reprehensible and is condemned by all decent Villa supporters.”

And Villa slammed their own fans today, saying: “Aston Villa is disgusted and appalled by footage circulating on social media of supporters chanting a racist song which makes reference to two of our first-team players.

“The club wholly condemns the chant and urges other supporters to help us identify those responsible.”

The club’s statement continued: “Chants of this nature besmirch the good name of Aston Villa Football Club and our fans. If the perpetrators are identified they will be dealt with in the strongest manner by the club and be reported to the police immediately.

“Our security staff will be vigilant at forthcoming games to ensure that anybody attempting repetition of this chant will be dealt with severely.

“We know we can rely on the assistance of the majority of our fans to eradicate this toxic behaviour immediately.”

The abuse followed similar instances that “appalled” Leicester City at the weekend, which reported racist abuse sent to midfielder Hamza Choudhury on social media to the police.

The 22-year-old, of Bangladesh-Grenadian heritage, received racist messages after being booked for a tackle on Mohamed Salah late in Liverpool’s 2-1 win.

Kick It Out, the campaign for equality in football, said of abuse towards Choudhury: “Despite ongoing discussions about tackling this ever-increasing issue, we have yet to see any concrete measures put in place to protect the players suffering this abuse.

“The time for talking is fast running out and if action will not be taken, the government or a regulatory body must intervene and force these platforms to adopt measures to eradicate abuse, identify perpetrators and hold them to account.”

And the campaign group later credited Villa for its response to the  “offensive and completely unacceptable” chanting.

A statement said: “Fans must understand that racist stereotypes have no place in football or wider society, and those involved should face consequences along with the necessary education.”

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