FIFA Dismisses Racism Charges Against Spain from U17 World Cup Final vs. England

Alex Keble@alexkebleFeatured ColumnistApril 19, 2018

England’s Rhian Brewster, holding ball, celebrates after scoring a goal during the FIFA U-17 World Cup final match between England and Spain in Kolkata, India, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)
Anupam Nath/Associated Press

FIFA has dismissed allegations of racist abuse made against an unnamed Spanish player in the Under-17 World Cup final against England in October 2017, per a media release on FIFA.com.

A "lack of sufficient evidence that could corroborate the English player's claim" was given as the reason for the dismissal.

"Despite the absence of a sanction, which can only be imposed on the basis of clear evidence, the Disciplinary Committee would like to restate FIFA's unequivocal, zero-tolerance stance against all forms of discrimination, as enshrined in the FIFA Statutes," the statement read.

Anupam Nath/Associated Press

FIFA initially opened a case after Liverpool's Rhian Brewster told the Guardian that his team-mate, Wolverhampton Wanderers teenager Morgan Gibbs-White, had been called a "monkey", per Daniel Taylor for the Guardian.

"As Morgan was running away, he [a Spain player] has called him a monkey," Brewster said in a wide-ranging interview about racial abuse in football. "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.'"

Brewer wanted to shed light on the extent of racist abuse he and others have suffered. He said he had been targeted on seven occasions, with five coming in the seven months leading up to the interview with Taylor.

In March, a UEFA investigation into Brewster's report that Spartak Moscow player Leonid Mironov had racially abused him was dropped after no other player or official could corroborate the allegation, per Mark Critchley for the Independent.

The decision was strongly condemned by English football's anti-racism body, Kick It Out, which said it was "deeply disappointed with the findings of the independent investigation," per Taylor. In addition, the organisation believed the ruling was "likely to give further encouragement to those who wish to be abusive in the sport."