Shamal George: Colchester United keeper considered not reporting alleged racial abuse

Shamal George in action for Colchester
Shamal George has started all six of Colchester's League Two games this season

Colchester goalkeeper Shamal George says he initially did not want to report racial abuse he allegedly faced during their League Two game at Barrow as "not a lot happens" as a result.

U's coach Darren Smith reported the allegations to Simon Mather, who refereed the match on 10 September.

Barrow are investigating, while Cumbria Police are urging anyone who heard any racist remarks to come forward.

"I've never had that [racism] before - it's a new experience," George said.

The 23-year-old told BBC Essex: "I told Smudge [Darren Smith, goalkeeping coach] and he said 'do you want to tell the ref' - I said leave it at first, and then in the end he said I'm going to tell him because it's not right.

"The reason I said leave it is because I don't think a lot happens to be honest.

"A lot of racism has been going on lately and I don't think a lot of punishment has been put forward."

The Football Association are looking into the incident, adding: "The FA stands firmly against all forms of prejudice and one of our key strategic objectives over the next three years is to use our influence to deliver a game free from discrimination.

"We will always take the strongest possible action against those proven to be discriminatory within a football setting and we continue to do our utmost to challenge these behaviours within our game."

The English Football League says it is "committed to combat all forms of discrimination", while Cumbria Police added that such allegations are "taken extremely seriously".

Former Liverpool academy keeper George said members of the Barrow team were "obviously upset" at the time.

"That team had black players - I had some of their players coming up to me at half-time, and at the end of the game, saying 'we're sorry'".

Colchester head coach Hayden Mullins called the alleged abuse "sickening" after the match, though the U's commended Barrow for their swift declaration to take action.

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