The Football Association is set to investigate after Wycombe striker Adebayo Akinfenwa alleged he was called a “fat water buffalo” on several occasions by a Fleetwood representative on Monday night.
Wycombe progressed to the League One play-off final after a 6-3 aggregate victory over Fleetwood but the occasion was spoiled for Akinfenwa after learning of a remark he says left him feeling angry, frustrated and dehumanised.
Akinfenwa said in a statement published on Twitter: “Monday night was one of the highlights of my career with Wycombe so far as we secured our place in the League One play-off final at Wembley. However, what should have been an evening of joy and excitement quickly turned into one of anger and frustration.
“Following the conclusion of the game, I learned that a representative of the opposition had repeatedly referred to me as a Fat ‘Water Buffalo’ in a derogatory tone.
“I believe it dehumanises me as a black man by associating me to a Water Buffalo, a dark animal, in a derogatory manner.”
Wycombe said on Twitter that they “fully stand by (their) players and supports all campaigns to end discrimination” but would make no further comment on the matter.
The PA news agency has contacted Fleetwood for a response on Akinfenwa’s claim.
An FA spokesperson said: “We’ve been made aware of the allegation and we’ll be investigating it further.”
The club fully stands by its players and supports all campaigns to end discrimination.— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) July 8, 2020
Akinfenwa, 38, has been with the Chairboys for the last four years, and counts Swansea, Northampton and AFC Wimbledon as his former clubs.
Amid the Black Lives Matter movement, he added his voice to calls for more to be done to tackle racism.
His statement added: “Regardless of whether or not there was deliberate racial intent by using that that language and irrespective of the context in which it was used, if we are to make real and long standing change then we must strive to educate each other about these issues.
“We must work together to ensure those who have not and do not face racial prejudice understand that what may appear to them to be a throwaway remark can have such a big and hurtful impact.
“I feel passionately around raising this because we as a sport and as a society must wake up. We must do more. We must educate ourselves and understand the potential repercussions of using such language and be aware of the hurt it can cause.
“The bigger issue to me would be the lack of understanding as to why calling me this term would not be hurtful to me as a black man, and this must change.
“Taking a knee, supporting social media campaigns and wearing a logo on our kits is a start, but it is not enough. It will not result in real and long standing change.
“The real work must start now and the only way to move forward collectively is through education.”
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