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Police investigate ‘racial abuse’ of footballer by opponent

INCIDENT: Gavin Hoyte pictured during his Lincoln City days

AUTHORITIES HAVE been called into action after League Two side Dagenham and Redbridge allege that one of their players was racially abused by a Rochdale player on January 13.

Both the police and the FA have been notified that Dagenham and Redbridge defender Gavin Hoyte was the alleged recipient of racial abuse from a member of the opposition.

Following Dagenham and Redbridge’s 2-1 win over Rochdale, the 22-year-old Hoyte reported the incident to match referee Steve Rushton, who then informed the FA.

“Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club wishes to confirm that the case of actual or alleged racist abuse aimed at our defender Gavin Hoyte by an opponent player has been reported to police in the past 24 hours,” said a statement on Dagenham and Redbridge’s official website.

“Following a complaint made by Gavin to referee Steve Rushton during Saturday's 2-1 League Two victory over Rochdale, the incident has now been reported to the Metropolitan police for them to investigate.

“Mr Rushton has confirmed to the Club that he has also reported the matter to the Football Association.

“The game against Rochdale was championed as a “Daggers Against Racism Family Fun Day” and it is deeply disappointing that this incident has tarnished the day.”

The club continued: “The Club will fully support Gavin Hoyte during the investigation and has complete faith in his honesty and integrity.”

Rochdale also said in a statement: “Rochdale Football Club have today been contacted by Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club regarding an alleged racist comment made by a Rochdale player towards their player Gavin Hoyte during yesterday’s League Two encounter.

“Both Rochdale Football Club and Dagenham & Redbridge Football Club enjoy an excellent relationship and Rochdale Football Club are grateful to Dagenham & Redbridge for contacting us on this matter.

“We are aware that the matter has been reported to the Metropolitan Police and the Football Association and we will fully co-operate with both authorities on this matter as well as investigating it internally.

“Rochdale Football Club has a zero tolerance against racism and fully supported the “Daggers Against Racism Family Fun Day”, as well as our on-going support of the “Kick Racism Out of Football Campaign”, where as a club our players have worn the anti-racism t-shirts on at least three occasions this season, including on Saturday.

“We also share the disappointment of our friends at Dagenham & Redbridge that such an accusation has occurred on a day when both clubs were supporting an anti-racism day.”

The added: “Rochdale Football Club reiterates its commitment to fully co-operating with the Football Association and the Metropolitan Police and will make no further comment at this time.”

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