Falkirk apologise for fan racism accusation

Falkirk fans funded their own red card display to respond to claims of racism at a game in November. Picture Michael Gillen.
Falkirk fans funded their own red card display to respond to claims of racism at a game in November. Picture Michael Gillen.

A Falkirk football supporter has been cleared of a racism accusation – prompting the Bairns to issue an officialapology.

The climb down comes after Falkirk’s website accused the club’s own support of racism to an angry response from under-fire fans.

Their response was welcomed by Dennon Lewis - the alleged target - and team-mate Prince Buaben. Picture Michael Gillen

Their response was welcomed by Dennon Lewis - the alleged target - and team-mate Prince Buaben. Picture Michael Gillen

Last November the Bairns hastily issued a condemnation of an alleged incident and then appealled for witnesses during a 4-2 defeat to Stenhousemuir in the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Amid strenuous denials, Falkirk fans moved to organise their own self-funded anti-racism display at the following game which was welcomed at the time by Dennon Lewis, the reported target of the alleged slur.

IN PICTURES: Falkirk fans show racism the red card against Alloa

But a court on Friday cleared the fan of wrongdoing at Ochilview and the Bairns today issued the apology which many supporters of the club had been seeking since November.

We recognise the statement was premature and ill-advised

Falkirk FC board of directors

It read: “Falkirk FC acknowledge the proceedings at Falkirk Sheriff Court on Friday in which a case against one of our supporters was dismissed. We wholeheartedly apologise for the way in which this matter was handled by the Club and for the resultant inference that the wider Falkirk support was wrongly associated with allegations of racist behaviour.

READ MORE: Falkirk fans respond to racism allegation with display

“Our intention had been to ensure that our fan base is recognised for what they are – fair, loyal, passionate and unwavering in their support for their team and totally opposed to any form of racist behaviour.

“However, we recognise that the statement issued by the Club at the time was premature and ill-advised and we regret that this wrongly tarnished the good name of Falkirk supporters in the media.

Fans showed the cards on the ninth minute - to mark the player's squad number. Picture Michael Gillen.

Fans showed the cards on the ninth minute - to mark the player's squad number. Picture Michael Gillen.

“We have written privately to the supporter in question to apologise and, through this letter to supporters, we wish to apologise publicly to him.

“We urge that we put this matter behind us and move forward together in supporting the team, knowing that important lessons have been learned.”

The public apology, posted on the club’s website, followed an apology within Friday’s EGM where the club officials were challenged over the statement.

Lewis left Falkirk a month after the red card display and most recently made a fleeting appearance on ITV2 television programme Love Island.

The allegation was dismissed in court on Friday. Picture Michael Gillen.

The allegation was dismissed in court on Friday. Picture Michael Gillen.