Wolves launch official complaint over racist abuse of players at Walsall derby

Wolves this afternoon made an official complaint after two players were racially abused by fans during the Black Country derby.

Walsall fans on the pitch after Wolves’ first goal in the game between the Saddlers and Wolverhampton Wanderers
Walsall fans on the pitch after Wolves’ first goal in the game between the Saddlers and Wolverhampton Wanderers

The club confirmed that they have made a complaint to Walsall and the Football Association after racial abuse towards goalkeeper Carl Ikeme and defender George Elokobi, at the Banks's Stadium on Saturday.

Police confirmed that four fans had been arrested as trouble flared at the derby, which Wolves won 3-0.

Two were held on suspicion of obstructing police, one on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly and one on suspicion of a public order offence.

Three of the men have been bailed with conditions pending further investigation and the fourth was cautioned for being drunk and disorderly.

Wolves todaysaid that Ikeme and Elokobi both reported the abuse to management staff. Ikeme was said to have been abused from behind the goal in the second half while Elokobi suffered abuse while warming up as a substitute.

Fans on the pitch after Wolves score
Fans on the pitch after Wolves score

In a statement, the club Wolves said: "The complaint relates to a small number of individuals in the crowd at Saturday’s game and will not sour the good relationship that exists between the two clubs.

"Both Wolves and Walsall are fiercely committed to stamping out all types of discrimination within football and will vigorously investigate all allegations of racist abuse.

"Wolves will always strongly support its players who are the victims of discrimination, and Carl Ikeme and George Elokobi both displayed admirable restraint in the face of receiving the abuse on Saturday.

Wolves boss Kenny Jackett said: "We back our players and there's no place for that in the game.

"We're all working very hard to stamp that out of football."

Walsall FC also confirmed that they had been in discussions with Wolves over the allegations and would ban any supporters found guilty from the stadium for life.

The Saddlers said in a statement: "We are taking this matter very seriously and will fully co-operate with West Midlands Police and Wolverhampton Wanderers throughout this investigation.

"Should anyone be found guilty of the above allegations, they will be issued with a lifetime ban from Banks’s Stadium.

"As the matter is being investigated, the club can make no further comment at this stage."

An orange flare was set off during the derby match
An orange flare was set off during the derby match

An orange flare was thrown on to the pitch shortly after the goal, causing play to stop for a few minutes while stewards removed it.

A fan also ran on to the pitch when Wolves took the lead in the 31st minute and is believed to have confronted Wolves players.

There was a big police presence during the game, separating the two groups of fans.

Walsall goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell and Wolves substitute keeper Aaron McCarey had to be separated from each other after the Saddlers goalkeeper took exception to McCarey – a former Walsall loan player – celebrating at the end of the game.

Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett was asked about the flare-up between O’Donnell and McCarey.

He said: “Aaron said the Walsall goalkeeper wasn’t too happy with him celebrating.

“Aaron wanted to go over and congratulate Carl as he always does.

“I told all of the players to give the supporters good recognition because they’d backed us very well.”

Police speak with fans during the first half
Police speak with fans during the first half

There has been a history of disorder between the two sets of supporters who have faced each other three times this season.

In September, Benjamin Allen was sentenced at Wolverhampton Magistrates’ Court for trying to run on the pitch when Wolves scored in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting earlier in the season.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and told the court he had been out drinking and was encouraged to run on to the pitch by friends.