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Obinna refutes racism reports
Published : 06 Apr 2011 09:30:07Rss feed
West Ham forward Victor Obinna revealed none of his relatives were even in the country - let alone at Upton Park - on Saturday.
Reports emerged that Obinna and Frederic Piquionne's families suffered racial abuse during the Hammers' 4-2 defeat by Manchester United, with guests of the two strikers allegedly involved in a confrontation with a small group of fans. The reports prompted the club to launch an immediate investigation, but Nigeria international Obinna, 24, categorically denied claims of racism.
"Nothing happened - I do not have any of my family members in England," he told BBC Sport. "There is no point asking me to confirm or verify an incident that never happened - I was in total shock when I heard and read about it in the papers."
He added: "I didn't have any of my relatives at the game and I do not know anyone who complained of any racial incident at the game."
Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan said on Monday he was "appalled" by reports the families were racially abused while sitting in a box in the Main Stand.
West Ham released an official statement denouncing the behaviour and promising a full investigation into the allegations, a move welcomed by football's equality and inclusion campaign, Kick It Out.
Kick It Out spokesman Danny Lynch said: "We've always advocated a zero tolerance approach to any form of discrimination in the game.
"This sort of thing gives the perception that it sets us back and I think it masks all the hard work clubs like West Ham do.
"We welcome West Ham's very proactive stance, with David Sullivan coming out saying he would investigate it and I think that is what we need.
"West Ham are a very community-focused club anyway and they have seen the incident as a blot on the rest of the supporters so there is no doubt they will take the action that needs to be done."