Wolves' Carl Ikeme issues response to Walsall racism complaint

Carl Ikeme tonight gave his response to the FA's decision to clear Walsall of any wrongdoing following a racist complaint.

Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme
Carl Ikeme has signed a new contract at Wolves

Wolves had lodged official complaints with the Saddlers and the FA after claiming offensive comments were made to goalkeeper Ikeme and substitute George Elokobi during the match at the Banks’s on March 8, which the visitors won 3-0.

Following the complaints, Walsall carried out a full investigation and subsequently the Saddlers were cleared by the game’s ruling body with no further action being taken.

Ikeme said: "I didn’t report the incident because I have got a problem with Walsall Football Club or anyone at Walsall.

“I got called a c**n twice, that is a fact, and George got called a black ****, and that is a fact as well.

“It also happened to me two years ago in a pre-season game as well, which I also reported.

“Obviously I’m not saying that Walsall is a racist club, of course not. I have got friends in Walsall and friends who play for Walsall.

“I’ve no problem with the club, I know it was a few individuals and doesn’t reflect the Walsall crowd as a whole.

“But when you hear those things like I did then I feel I need to report it."

The Wolves star believes football - and society - still has a battle to win over racist comments and behaviour.

“It could happen with fans at any club – it could be our club – but wherever it happens it is not right," he added.

“There was a lot of good banter going on as well which was funny and I got called ‘Matt Murray on drugs’ and all that is fine.

“But there is a line that can be crossed and to be called what I did was unacceptable.

“I didn’t need to make any claim to distract from anything else and to be honest, the easy thing would have been to walk away and not say anything.

“I have been told that I should have reported it as soon as it happened but I’m not sure how I am supposed to stop the match as soon as I hear something like that.

“I know it was always going to be difficult to find the culprits and during the match there was no way I would be able to engage with the crowd to try and see who it was when I was concentrating.

“I mentioned it to the backroom staff after the match and then it was a case of thinking over the next decision and when myself and George came in on Monday, we spoke to the gaffer (Kenny Jackett) who said he would back us all the way.

“It was a big decision for me to report it but, at the end of the day, there is a lot of work that goes into the Kick It Out campaign, and I know both Walsall and Wolves are strongly involved in that work to try and stamp out racism and discrimination.

“Racism was a lot worse in days gone by, and it has got a lot better, but if I had just walked away and not reported it I don’t think it would have been the right thing to do.

“I’m a big boy and I can handle it even though it’s not right, but the next person it happens to might not be the same.

“So while it’s getting better and there is some great work taking place from so many clubs, when there are incidents then there is still more work to be done.”

Comments for: "Wolves' Carl Ikeme issues response to Walsall racism complaint"

saddlerforever

racism has no place and if anyone was near the individuals i would hope they contact walsall fc to help point the culprits out.

wolfo

its obvious it happened, disappointing by the FA, and as other racially attacked players have said before, the FA inst doing enough to kick it out of the game, its a disgrace in 2014 and letting clubs get away with stuff like this just sends out the wrong message.

if this was in the premier league the media would be all over it and we wouldn't hear the end of it.

whats the point of having a kickracism out of the game if its not being backed up? even in the lower divisions?

Nat WFC

Walsall is probably the most diverse ethnic area in the West Midlands and to hear that players have been abused like this is disgusting and I hope that someone comes forward with information.

However without having every single fan micro-phoned its difficult to catch those who do it when nowadays the majority don't.

This story has eclipsed the other issues of a dangerous flare and the incitement of the crowd by a certain player which could of even increased the abuse, however I am not saying these should take precedent.

The Media, FA and public should be able to investigate all three individually rather than one overshadowing the others.

nik.hare1

nik.hare1

March 20, 2014 11:48 am

cant imagine a walsall steward putting his own job under threat by telling the truth!

two players, ikeme,elekobi have reported what they heared. ikeme for the second time.

so, can anyone shed any light on why these incidents still happen? ever since the first afro carribean and asian players and supporters got involved in football, these events really make a mockery of well intentioned people's efforts to eradicate abuse in all its forms.

the list is endless, sol campbell, emile heskey,rio and anton ferdinand, les ferdinand, cyrille regis,brendan batson, bob hazell, george berry, markwalters, defoe, cunningham, chopra, harpal singh, sansara, huddlestone, toure,dalian atkinson,etoo,ronaldhino...........etc all have suffered abuse over the decades and the gutless authorities and media and politicians have let it happen.

CoRnIsHWoLf

So celebrating scoring a goal is incitement now is it?

tatmon

I would disagree with Walsall being the most diverse ethnic area. Outside the centres of Walsall, Darlaston and Willenhall the borough of Walsall is 90-99% white english. This is where the racists will come from

In wolves on the other hand near enough all of the areas are mixed to a certain extent with less segregation than Walsall

Nat WFC

Every single response you three gave me is one way vision and close minded... its disappointing if anything,

@Nik.Hare1, So a wolves steward would risk his job by telling the truth? No need to bring in what area you come from,

I never doubted that a racist incident had or could of occurred so your list of names is pointless and without reason,

@CoRnIsHWoLf, The incitemant was coming up to an area of the stands with Walsall fans on both sides and making hand gestures egging them on, it was pointless and needless, His actions were in no way celebration, why didn't he run over to celebrate with his beloved Wolves supporters? unless he can't stand to be near them.

@Tatmon, Walsall is diverse as Wolverhampton, considering I'v equally live my life between both and this is just another comment saying 'Our area is better than your area' I'm sorry but I'm trying to talk about a bigger issue and not once did I mention anything about Wolves being bad and Walsall good, your argument is pointless and not really worth responding to, besides telling you it is pointless.

Overall not a single response about the big issue of media coverage and its one way view of things and just a load of rubbish about 'Our team/area is better than yours' I understand Football is a mob mentality sport' but this is about racism not what club or area your from. Get a perspective.

kenco

Please bore off with the flare and player celebrations remarks they are comical.

On the other hand if we shouted racist a bust at Febian Brandy or Romaine Sawyers you'd be saying what we are so gain a little bit of perspective a flare is theft in the real world racism is a lot worse than that…

anthonyalexander.richards

I have been going to Walsall 61 years yes I saw a wolves player wind some body up that was ok but you do not throw stones at a green house. On the flares the are a dangerous health and safety issue at all grounds the smoke blew it back at them and could have been find like others have for doing it. and band from grounds. Yes I laughed when it went back in the stands you would not let one of in your own house would you common sense. also when we played at your ground in the ST Jonstones paint match wolves fans where totally guilty of un fair play I reported it to the stewards and seven police saw it as well and they agreed it was un fair what happened but like true saddlers took it on the chin water of a ducks back and on the railway station standing with my grand son and others the wolves fans came on the opposite side started hurling abuse it wound up one . It is as far as I know wolves cause more problems at a lot of grounds that's why the police was there as they know your reputation

derbyshirewolf

A wonderfully dignified response Carl; you are always right never to walk away. ---- Quite a few years ago I took my boys to watch Wolves play away at Grimsby. On that night a couple of Wolves "fans" constantly racially abused Nathan Blake, their own player.I was really ashamed of this behaviour in front of my boys, and I approached some stewards, asking them to just stand close to where this was happening. They didn't want to know, preferring a quiet life to confronting a problem. I would suggest that some stewards today still take the same attitude, turning a blind eye, and taking their pay, and preferring a quiet life. Such a docile approach will never do anything to change attitudes. The F.A. could well be a darn site more proactive in its "investigations" of such incidents. Carl and George, you have my complete respect.

DarloSaddler

I suppose the trouble with the incidents concerning Ikeme and Elokobi is that racism at games has take on a different shape over the years. In the bad old days there would have been mass chanting, monkey noises, the throwing of bananas etc. All terrible and all very, very wrong but the perpetrators would have been much easier to identify through recorded footage and by stewards on the day. These days without the abuse seems to be much more subtle. A comment as a player is warming up or a comment at a set piece said just loud enough for the player to hear but nigh on impossible to prove.

I sat behind the goal in the home end at the Wolves game and honestly didn't hear anything of this nature yet it obviously did happen. It's perfectly possible that the stewards didn't pick anything up without there being any under-handed hushing-up going on. Some Wolves fans appear to be of the opinion that WFC is sweeping this under the carpet but I don't believe the club would do that. If the stewards and police didn't hear/notice anything and there's nothing overt on cctv then what can WFC, what could any club do?

Even though nothing has come to light the abuse of Ikeme and Elokobi has brought shame on the club, as did the action of the lunatic who entered the pitch when Dicko scored at our end. Quite what he thought he was going to do I don't know, Dicko's a big lad and I reckon I know who'd have come off worst.

derbyshirewolf

Thoughtful response D.S.. You, like most of us, have come a long way re. this issue. However, your suggestion that some Wolves fans are of the opinion that WFC is sweeping the issue under the carpet may be wide of the mark.My grouse is not with any individual club. It is with the authorities' (in this case the F.A.'s) often weak responses to incidents that occur.My fear is that individuals who get away with this might "impress" others, and grow in numbers. This must never happen.

AucklandKiwiWolf

The majority of Football fans are decent fair-minded people.Unfortunately for the majority of football clubs,there is the 'lunatic fringe' who over the years have given the game and the clubs that they purport to support a bad reputation.Wolves have been no exception to this in the past.Besides cleaning up the game ON the pitch,a lot of work still needs to be done OFF the pitch by the majority of clubs..

Bazwolf

So sorry Carl had to endure this and was absolutely righ to report it. Top bloke Carl Ikeme ......... Player of the season?

Ritchie Wolves

Baz, I would like to think the Wolves keepers were player of the season!!!!

Graham

I was at the game sat in the upper tile stand and I never heard any racist comments although I am not saying it did not occur. I go with a group of friends and we all saw fans from both clubs baiting one another at the corner off to our left. The biggest problem for me was the foul language being shouted and the hand gestures, it makes it very difficult sitting there with some of my grand children having to listen to it. If an investigation is to be carried out it ought to by an outside agency leading such a thing not clubs policing themselves as people will assume it to be biased even if it is done in an honest manner. When something like racism or violence flares up we should put aside our club loyalty and stand united against such behaviour. The idiot that threw the flare ought to be found and banned the moron that ran on should be banned for life from matches, the list goes on but regardless of my love of Walsall fc if it's wrong it's wrong and those people should be removed from grounds for good. The problem is even when banned if a person causes trouble all we are doing is moving the problem elsewhere not solving the underlying problem.

The FA are hiding their heads in the sand again.

Things are thrown on the pitch and at players, many of the crowd stand up throughout the match and abuse is shouted at the players.

What do the FA do - sweet FA.

Why not start deducting points from the clubs that offend?

This would stamp it out overnight but of course you cannot penalise the powerful clubs!!

Reans

I do believe this happened, just because the FA say unproven (which is an understandable outcome) does not mean it did not. Of course you can question the words of the 2 Wolves players, but that is your choice. I know who I believe.

It is a shame because such behaviour does not reflect the vast majority of fans, it just takes a couple of idiots and they happened to be aimed at our players.

Personally I still do it think it helps when celebrating players clearly wind up the home fans, this seems to be happening more and more, Andy Butler did it at Molineux but not as blatantly. Unfortunately when players do that, the end result is that people get nasty. Not excusing the racism, it may have happened anyway. But in my opinion Dicko was certainly unwise (if a little naive), and the two fans who shouted racist abuse deserve to be put in a room one to one with Ikeme and George.

Ritchie Wolves

I feel for Walsall FC and any other club that attract these idiot's and I dare say we have some. Regarding a player celebrating a goal at the end he scored it, he has the right to and any fan that cannot take that then stay away, go shopping with the missus you cry babies.

Kick em all out.

Come on..................

Ye Olde South Bank

Some very sensible, fair and balanced contributions by both sets of fans.

It's so nice to see local rivals uniting in the condemnation of something that decent people know has no place in civilised society, let alone football. Just as importantly, it's heartening to note that this unsavoury episode won't, it seems, be damaging the mutual respect and good relationship between Wolves and Walsall Football Clubs. It is, after all, a wider social issue and not something created by our clubs.

Those of us that attend games can all be the eyes and ears of our club. If you're not happy with what you see or hear, then report it. Maintaining your club's reputation and ensuring that everyone has a civilised day out is of paramount importance. do not allow a mere handful of bigots and idiots spoil the occasion for all. We're all Black Country folk, irrespective of our club colours, and never forget that.

Enny road, ave a bostin' day, muckers ;-)