Carlisle United starts inquiry into claim that club stewards supported EDL protest

Carlisle United have launched an investigation following reports that Brunton Park stewards were among supporters of the man jailed for burning the Koran.

Andrew Ryan, 32, of Summerhill, London Road, Carlisle, was sentenced to 70 days in prison for intentional religious/racial harassment on Monday. He arrived at the city magistrates’ court flanked by men waving the St George’s Cross and shouting nationalist chants.

The English Defence League Carlisle Division had put out a call for members to support Ryan. A group gathered to parade through the city centre with him, carrying a flag with “EDL” written on it. It also bore the scrawled message: “It’s our country, we are taking it back.”

Yesterday the News & Star received reports that some of the men were stewards at Brunton Park. The club has now launched an investigation into their identity. United spokesman Andy Hall said:

“We would like to thank the News & Star for bringing this to our attention. Having just received the images we now have to carry out a full investigation and we will, in due course, be able to comment further on our findings.

“As has been shown recently the club will not tolerate any form of racist behaviour and, in conjunction with the FA and Football League ‘Kick it Out’ campaign, we are working strenuously to ensure that this issue does not arise at the ground.

“However, it would be wrong of us to make any further comment on this specific incident until a full and thorough investigation has been completed.”

News & Star, 20 April 2011