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June 27, 2017

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New UK probe after player reports racial abuse

LONDON -- Another investigation into racism allegations at an English soccer match was launched Saturday after a Bolton player said he was abused by Millwall supporters in a second-tier match.

The Football Association (FA) announced an investigation after Bolton striker Marvin Sordell told officials he and three teammates were racially taunted at Millwall's ground, The Den, and that police officers failed to take action.

The incident comes after British legislators recently said soccer authorities must intensify efforts to combat racism in a report prompted by two high-profile racism incidents in the Premier League as well as concerns about fan behavior. Chelsea defender and former England captain John Terry plus Liverpool striker Luis Suarez were found to have racially abused opponents in games last season.

The incident at Millwall was revealed on Twitter by Sordell after Bolton's 2-1 loss. The England under-21 international was later the subject of further insults on the website.

"Putting the match aside, its 2012 in england and people are still shouting racial abuse at a football game!? (hash tag) Shocking," Sordell tweeted.

"Chungy, Pratts, Benik and i had all sorts of things said to us," he added, referring to Lee Chung-yong, Darren Pratley and Benik Afobe. "The police were standing yards away and did nothing..."

Sordell said he was called a "slave (expletive)" by the fans, before finishing his series of tweets with: "Yes i have reported it."

Both clubs later released statements condemning racism and revealing plans to work together to find the perpetrators.

"Millwall and Bolton Wanderers are investigating allegations made by Bolton player Marvin Sordell that he was subjected to racial abuse by an individual whilst warming up as a substitute during Saturday's Championship clash at The Den," Millwall said in a statement. "The two clubs remain determined to do everything in their power to ensure that racist behavior will not be tolerated.

"We will be speaking to the police and the match officials on this matter but no further comment will be made until this process has been completed and the investigations have been concluded."

The abuse came a day after the FA released the written reasons for giving Terry a four-match ban for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand last year.

In the judgment, the disciplinary panel raised concerns about the long-term impact of his outburst, which led to a court case in which he was cleared of a criminal offense.

"His conduct undermines the FA's efforts to promote inclusivity, equality and diversity and in combating racism in football," the FA said.

Since his confrontation with Terry, Ferdinand has been taunted at matches.

"The victim impact statement of Mr. Ferdinand makes it plain that he has been badly affected by the incident," the FA panel said. "He has been the subject of hateful abuse and adverse comments."

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