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Barnet players threatened with sack after racism claim against staff member

Barnet players have been threatened with the sack after a racism claim was made against a staff member say reports this week.

Bees squad members wanted to go on strike after a member of staff made an alleged racist comment at an opponent in the National League match at home to Stockport last Saturday.

The game was paused and an announcement was made to the crowd after an allegation against Barnet’s first-team logistics manager, Ricky Bartlett.

Barnet say police concluded on the day that there was “no allegation or substance for a criminal investigation to take place”.

The players asked Bartlett to stay away from training on Monday but when he turned up he was confronted by the club captain, Jamie Turley.

The Guardian has since been told that the squad then had lengthy talks about not playing Tuesday’s match at Southend and this resulted in a threat to sack anyone who refused to take part.

The match was played, with Southend coming out victorious with a 2-1 win.

Messages between the footballers and the Barnet chairman, Tony Kleanthous, were relayed on Monday and Tuesday by the head of football, Dean Brennan, who is also the acting manager.

Kleanthous said Turley and Bartlett had been suspended on full pay pending an investigation. “A suspension is not in and of itself a disciplinary action or a reflection of guilt,” he said.

When asked whether the players had been threatened with the sack if they did not play against Southend, Kleanthous said: “I have not spoken with them [and] am not aware of any direct ‘sacking’ threat to the players. However, it is worth noting that the players are contracted under the standard FA playing contracts to participate in football matches, so I would assume that any threats not to play would be a breach of their contracts and would carry heavy sanctions from the National League.”

Kleanthous continued to say an investigation into the alleged comment by Bartlett had been carried out on Saturday, conducted by the safety officer in consultation with the police.

“The senior police officer at the scene confirms there was no allegation or substance for a criminal investigation to take place,” Kleanthous said.

He added the club were conducting further investigations “to ensure a comprehensive review of the matter” and that the observations would be sent to the Football Association. “The club will not tolerate racism or any other form of abuse and will act swiftly and robustly to deal with any such behaviour.”

BARNET STATEMENT:

The Club is aware of an incident of an alleged racist comment being made during our Home game at the weekend, when we hosted Stockport County at The Hive London.

We can confirm that an investigation was immediately carried out in full on the day of the alleged incident. This was conducted by the Safety Officer, who has overarching authority over these matters on match days, and in consultation with the attending Police present at the game. Witnesses were interviewed with statements taken and the matter was reported to the London Matchday Silver Commander in a debrief to MO6 HQ Football Unit in line with MPS Policy. The Senior Police Officer at the scene confirmed there was no allegation or substance for a criminal investigation to take place. The Club is currently collating information for the FA to review in line with its regulatory responsibilities.

The Club would like to assure all those involved and all supporters that Barnet Football Club takes its social responsibilities very seriously and will always act with full integrity when investigating any matter. The Club takes a zero tolerance approach to any forms of discrimination or abuse and will always act swiftly and robustly to deal with any such behaviour.

No further comment will be made at this time.

Barnet FC Supporters’ Association say: “The BFCSA is aware of allegations of an incident at Saturday’s game where a member of the back room team is alleged to have used a racist slur.

“To the players – we are united with you in the fight against racism and we will stand shoulder to shoulder with any individual or organisation that shares these desires.

“Should we get any further information in regards to this incident then we will endeavour to share this with our members at the earliest opportunity.”

Twitter users reacted at seeing Barnet players threatened with the sack after a racism claim against one staff member…

@pieorama2: At Meadow Lane it was the person who made the racist remark who lost their job.

@ScaleSilver49: Solidarity with Barnet players against racism

@james_harpin: What on Earth is wrong with my club

@littleblueshed: TK must go for this, as well as whoever made the comment. I boycotted games at Underhill after the ‘Social Club’ torching & the Andy Clarke transfer debacle, as I didn’t want my money going to Flashman. This is far worse.

@Rikhayes1: I can’t get my head around this at all it’s disgusting treatment of the players

@CraigWinder: They’re off their Barnet.

@charliecassen: Ashamed to be a Barnet fan tonight. Every single member of staff and owner needs to walk. Completely disgusted.

@Chris_G_: Was at this game. Turley made sure Johnson was ok to continue the game after the incident. Full solidarity with the players on this one.

@blig78: what in the blue hell is going on @BarnetFC

@Diggerthedog1: We might not make the play offs but at least we’re not Barnet

@BrockersMark: Standing strong with @jnayr_ and the players of @BarnetFC. The heads of Barnet FC need to sort their house out, backing racists and threatening those who go against them is just abhorrent.

@JstAnotherDevil: Bloody hell. They ain’t dealt with this properly at all as well, gonna bite that club in the arse

@HenryM131: Fuckin hell Barnet

@lorcan1000: State of this club! Invested over £50m into a state of the art facility that charges ridiculous prices for everything…besides the point..They consistently get battered and have avoided relegation through covid on numerous occasions. All my dealings with this club have been awful

@RaviSaggo16: Good lord!!! Disgraceful @BarnetFC sort your shit out ffs

@Skittall: @BarnetFC should be ashamed!! Fully behind @JamieTurley5 on this!!

@thismightbezach: Jesus! I know Barnet have a shambles the past few years but this is a new low. Feeling for the players caught up in this.

@duncanyoung68: Shambolic. The clubs a mess on and off the pitch.

@hanlemic: Solidarity with Jamie Turley for objecting to the racist comments and credit to the players for taking a stand against this. Woeful response from the club; no doubt there will be further statements/clarification to follow. What a mess. #ashamed

@OfficialScottyT: Fair play to the #BarnetFC players calling out that shit, but wht haven’t the club disciplined the individual?

@aidanrad: Fair play to captain Jamie Turley and the team for making a stand. Chairman’s quotes, like the club’s belated statement, tin-eared at the least.

@olly_plevin: Only person that’s handled this well is Jamie Turley

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