FERW, an independent news organization committed to promoting fairness, equality, and responsible reporting in football, strongly condemns the disgraceful incident of racial abuse directed at a Celtic player by two Hibernian fans during the Scottish League Cup final held at Hampden Park on December 19, 2021.

The incident unfolded as Hibernian fans Kevin Johnston (31) and David Goodfellow (28) repeatedly hurled racist comments at an unnamed Celtic player whenever he was in possession of the ball or on the field. The racial slurs used were offensive and completely unacceptable in any setting, particularly in the world of sports where inclusivity and respect should prevail.

According to prosecutor Gemma Barclay, the comments made by Johnston and Goodfellow included derogatory terms such as “He is a c***y,” and they consistently referred to the player in this offensive manner. The presence of responsible and concerned individuals in the crowd did not deter the perpetrators from their harmful actions. Despite a woman’s brave intervention, emphasizing that racism has no place in football, the two individuals persisted in their abusive behavior.

A man who attempted to reason with Johnston and Goodfellow was met with further hostility, with Johnston responding with offensive language. This alarming disturbance prompted the intervention of law enforcement, resulting in both individuals being ejected from the stadium.

In the aftermath of this deeply troubling incident, Johnston and Goodfellow have pled guilty to behaving in a threatening and abusive manner, with their actions further aggravated by racial prejudice. The judicial response saw Sheriff Patricia Pryce issue penalties that included Johnston being ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work, and Goodfellow, due to specific circumstances, being placed under a tag restricting his movements between 7 pm and 7 am for nine weeks. Additionally, both individuals have been issued a football banning order for one year.

FERW underscores the gravity of this matter and the pressing need to address such incidents firmly. Racism has no place in sports, and it is imperative that all stakeholders, including fans, players, and governing bodies, unite to eradicate such behavior from our beloved games.

We call on football clubs, organizations, and fans alike to stand against racism and discrimination, reaffirming their commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants and spectators. We also extend our support to the affected Celtic player and commend the courageous individuals who spoke out against racism during the incident.
FERW remains dedicated to promoting fair, unbiased reporting and will continue to shine a light on issues of racial discrimination in sports and society, with the hope that collective efforts can lead to lasting change.

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