Liverpool starlet and Under-17 World Cup winner Rhian Brewster has lifted the lid on racist abuse he's suffered early in his career.
The Reds prospect told the Guardian's Daniel Taylor he was called the N-word and a "negro" as recently as this month during a UEFA Youth League clash against Spartak Moscow's under-19s:
"I got fouled. I was on the floor and I had the ball in my hands. One of their players started saying stuff in Russian to the ref. I said: 'It's a foul, man, what you playing at?' I was still sitting down at this stage. Then their player leaned over me, right down to my face and said: 'Suck my d--k, you n----r, you negro.'
Brewster immediately lodged a complaint with the fourth official after the referee had initially suggested delaying further action until after the game.
Brewster appeared disillusioned with the current efforts to tackle the issue, via Anfield HQ:
Anfield HQ @AnfieldHQ
@DTguardian Brewster: "I didn’t even want to put in a complaint (after the Spartak game). I was walking down the tunnel swearing: ‘F*** the system, it’s not going to do anything.' Obviously you have to (make a complaint). But if something is ever done about it, that’s another story."
The young forward detailed more instances of racist abuse this year alone in which players had called him the N-word, one of which occurred against Sevilla in September during another Youth League fixture:
"I was going to walk off the pitch and go straight down the tunnel, I was that angry. Steven [Gerrard] grabbed me and said: 'What's happened?' Obviously he realised something was wrong and he put his arm round me. I told them (Liverpool's coaching staff) and they told the fourth official. But the fourth official told the ref their player had been accused of bullying. He (the referee) went to the player to say he had been accused of bullying and the player looked like he didn't know what was happening."
Taylor later detailed the extent of the racial abuse Brewster has suffered, the majority of which has happened this year, but he's far from alone in the matter:
Daniel Taylor @DTguardian
@RhianBrewster9 I wouldn't normally ask for RTs but if a boy of 17 can already list seven incidents of alleged racism during matches - including five in the last seven months and one in the World Cup under-17s' final - please do if it helps bring it to the attention of @UEFAcom and @FIFAcom
England beat Spain 5-2 in the final to lift the Under-17 World Cup in October. Brewster scored his side's first in a comeback from two goals down, helping his country win the tournament for the first time in its 26-year history. He finished the competition as top scorer with eight goals
But the occasion was marred when team-mate Morgan Gibbs-White, midfielder for Wolverhampton Wanderers, was called a "monkey."
Brewster said: "Something happened in the box. As Morgan was running away, he [a Spain player] has called him a monkey. It was a goal kick and I was getting into position. 'Morgan,' I said, 'did you hear that?' He said: 'Yeah, yeah, I thought I was the only one.'"
The Guardian's Owen Gibson appealed for stronger monitoring from football's authorities:
Grime artist Stormzy echoed that sentiment (contains profanity) when tweeting his pride for Brewster, who was speaking out after receiving support from his "angry" mother and father:
In May, Pescara midfielder Sulley Muntari was suspended after he walked off the pitch in protest of racist chants he heard at a Serie A match against Cagliari. He was booked after reporting the matter to the referee, per the Telegraph.
The former Ghana international later told BBC Sport's David Ornstein he believed racism is "everywhere and getting worse," adding that neither FIFA nor UEFA are "taking racism seriously."