Haringey manager Loizou felt he had to take ‘distraught’ players off pitch after alleged racist abuse

Tom Loizou, manager of Haringey Borough. Picture: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Tom Loizou, manager of Haringey Borough. Picture: George Phillipou/TGS Photo - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Haringey Borough manager Tom Loizou said he was left with no option but to take his “distraught” players off the pitch following alleged racist abuse from Yeovil supporters in their FA Cup tie.

The Borough were looking to make it into the first round of the FA Cup for two seasons running but, after Yeovil had scored from a penalty on 64 minutes, the match was abandoned when Loizou led his players off the pitch.

Goalkeeper Valery Pajetat was reportedly spat at and had objects thrown at him, before defender Coby Rowe was allegedly racially abused.

The Metropolitan Police has said that it is now investigating the matter.

Loizou said: "They got a penalty. My goalkeeper went to take a drink of water by the goal and they spat at him.

"We all saw the bottles get thrown on and he was spat at. They took the penalty and threw more bottles and stones.

"Coby Rowe was then racially abused. I saw how distraught Coby was and I took my players off the pitch.

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"They didn't want to go back. I asked the ref if he could guarantee our safety and he said no.

"I know my players and I saw they were affected. It's a small stadium and we can see and hear what's happening.

"It's nothing to do with the football club it's just how I felt at the time. I thought it was the best thing to do."

Loizou said that the FA have been in touch with the club but admits he does not know what decision will be made and added that there would be a discussion as regards to their Isthmian Premier Division fixture away at Bowers & Pitsea on Tuesday evening.

The manager also voiced concerns over Uefa's three-step protocol which was used in England's game against Bulgaria earlier this month, where England's black players were subjected to racist abuse.

"If they kicked us out I would just get on with it," Loizou added.

"At this level what are they going to do to, stop me from managing? I'll just go down to Screwfix and get myself a toolkit instead.

"I got asked the other week what I would do if something like this happened. They asked if I would take them off and I said I no, I wouldn't want to let those people win.

"A few weeks later and I've done a complete turnaround. Unless you're in it and you hear it and feel it, you don't know how to react.

"I've not got anything against Yeovil fans and the team, if anything they came out in support.

"With England they have a protocol to follow but I saw what happened - bottles were thrown and my goalkeeper was spat at.

"I'm pretty sure if they (England) didn't have the protocol, they would have done the same thing.

"Why are we giving people three strikes? It's not American baseball."