Middlesbrough suspends two fans from matches after claims Qur’an ripped up at game

Middlesbrough FC have suspended two fans from matches after claims that copies of the Qur’an were ripped up at a game.

Police are investigating reports some Boro fans ripped up the holy text of Islam during the club’s 2-2 draw at Birmingham City. After the allegations came to light, Middlesbrough Football Club vowed to ban anyone convicted of the crime from the Riverside Stadium for life.

And, in a statement, the club said: “We can confirm that, at this point, two individuals have been suspended from attending Boro matches. As investigations by West Midlands and Cleveland Police into the alleged incident at Birmingham last weekend are ongoing, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

A Birmingham City spokesman has also confirmed the club was aware of the incident and was co-operating with police. Police in Birmingham described the incident as a “hate crime”.

A spokesman for MFC said previously that the club operates a “zero tolerance policy” towards all forms of discrimination and is a strong supporter of football’s pledge to “eradicate racism in all its forms”. Boro supporters’ group, Red Faction, has organised an anti-racist march before the game with Brighton & Hove Albion tomorrow.

Steve Fletcher, member of Red Faction supporters’ group, told the Evening Gazette: “It’s a direct response to the incident last Saturday at the Birmingham away game when a minority of supporters ripped up the Qu’ran. That does not represent Middlesbrough Football Club and its supporters. When the people who were there realised what was going on we were disgusted. The police were aware of who did it.”

Fans are asked to meet at 2pm at the first underpass near McDonald’s and Cineworld in Middlesbrough for the anti-racism march. The march will finish at the Ayresome Gates in front of the Riverside Stadium.

Anyone with information should call Cleveland Police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Daily Mirror, 13 December 2013