Juninho Bacuna suffers alleged racist abuse by his club’s own fan as Birmingham City beat Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.
Manager John Eustace has since condemned the incident, which was aimed at midfielder Juninho Bacuna during the 4-1 Championship victory at St Andrew’s.
The game had been stopped late in the second half when referee Sam Allison went over and spoke to Eustace along with Terriers counterpart Darren Moore as the issue was raised on the field of play.
The Club can confirm that during the second-half of tonight’s game against Huddersfield Town at St. Andrew’s, Juninho Bacuna reported an incident of racism to the referee.
Blues gives its full support to Bacca. There is no room for racism in the game.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) October 3, 2023
Speaking post-match, with the Blues winning after two goals from Siriki Dembele and one each from Koji Miyoshi and Jordan James, Eustace made his feelings clear.
“I believe that Bacuna was racially abused by one of our fans which is obviously disgusting,” he said.
“It’s not something that we expect in society, let alone football. Birmingham is very proud of how diverse we are as a club and a city and there is certainly nowhere near any room for that at all.
“It’s very disappointing. They have reported it, it’s bang out of order.”
Birmingham City has issued the following statement: “The Club can confirm that during the second-half of Tuesday’s Sky Bet Championship game against Huddersfield Town at St. Andrew’s, Juninho Bacuna reported an incident of racism to the referee.
“In response, Sam Allison paused the game, speaking to both the Head Coach, John Eustace, and the visiting manager, Darren Moore, before restarting play.
“This will be included in the official’s match report and the Club will assist the FA, the EFL and the authorities accordingly.
“Blues gives its full support to Juninho. There is no room for racism in the game.
“No further comment will be made at this time.”
Very disappointing to hear what happened with Bacuna, such a great night, getting 3 points a great performance from the team and himself, ruined with the comment that was made. No room for racism………
— Dion Sanderson (@SandowRs) October 3, 2023
Huddersfield boss Moore said of the incident: “It’s a shame that it’s going to cloud the game tonight, because from Birmingham’s point of view it’s a good three points for them, but the incident is going to overshadow it.
“The referee stopped the game, called both managers over, said there was an incident in the corner from a home spectator directed at the home player and though the home player didn’t want to report it, our player Tom Edwards heard it. Both players heard it clearly and it’s gone on report.
“They’ve got video evidence and we will let the footballing authorities, referee and match officials get to the conclusion with it.
“It’s not something we condone in the game, but it’s still there and we show our support.”
The club’s owner Tom Wagner also vowed to issue a lifetime ban to the supporter.
He said: “I want to address a concerning incident that occurred during the game against Huddersfield Town. Our player, Juninho Bacuna, bravely reported that he was subjected to racial abuse by an individual in Arthur’s Area at St. Andrew’s. It is disheartening to hear that such behaviour exists, especially in the family section of our home ground. Additionally, Huddersfield player Tom Edwards confirmed that he also heard the racial slur directed at Juninho.
“Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to Juninho and Tom for promptly bringing this matter to the attention of the officials. It takes courage to speak up against such unacceptable behaviour. At the same time, I want to make it clear that we condemn any individual who believes that making racially motivated comments is acceptable. Such actions have no place in football or in society as a whole.
“We are fully committed to working with the West Midlands Police to ensure that the necessary actions are taken and that the individual responsible is brought to justice. Furthermore, we will enforce a lifetime ban on this individual, preventing them from attending any future games.
“Birmingham City Football Club has a strong stance against all forms of discrimination. We have a zero-tolerance policy in place, and anyone engaging in such behaviour will not be welcome at St. Andrew’s. We will not allow the actions of a single individual to tarnish the reputation of our great club. Birmingham City Football Club reflects the diversity and pride of the city it represents, and we stand united against discrimination, ready to support one another when needed.”
The game itself saw the Blues thump four goals past the Terriers with Brandon Khela making history by becoming the first British South Asian ever to play league football for Birmingham.
It’s been a positive start to the season for John Eustace’s side, they didn’t lose in the league throughout August, however, they only picked up just two of 15 points in September, scoring only two goals and losing three times.
Attention turned to getting October back on track, and in truth were never in danger against the Terriers, putting in a great shift thanks to a double from Siriki Dembele and further goals from Koji Miyoshi and Jordan James.
Birmingham City (4-2-3-1): John Ruddy, Cody Drameh (Emanuel Aiwu 88), Dion Sanderson (Captain), Kevin Long, Emmanuel Longelo, Krystian Bielik, Ivan Sunjic, Juninho Bacuna (Brandon Khela 88), Koji Miyoshi (Oliver Burke 76), Siriki Dembele (Jordan James 76), Jay Stansfield (Scott Hogan 76).
Substitutes not used: Neil Etheridge, Marc Roberts, Gary Gardner, Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Bookings: Stansfield 34, Bacuna 58, Long 74.
Huddersfield Town (3-5-2): Lee Nicholls, Matty Pearson, Michal Helik, Tom Lees (Kian Harratt 71), Ben Jackson (Tom Edwards 61), Jack Rudoni, Yuta Nakayama, Ben Wiles (Brahima Diarra 46), Josh Ruffels (Jaheim Headley 46), Sorba Thomas, Delano Burgzorg (Josh Koroma 46).
Substitutes not used: Chris Maxwell, Rarmani Edmonds-Green, Patrick Jones, Kyle Hudlin.
Bookings: Pearson 55.
Referee: Sam Allison.
This is how Twitter users reacted as Juninho Bacuna suffers alleged racist abuse by his own clib’s own fan while Birmingham beat Huddersfield…
@htafcmawsonn: We’re all with you Bacca, miss you 💙
@Mommyrachael123: Sickened and disgusted to be reading this. They is no place for this in football or anywhere else
@TomJones1875: Appalling & on a night when we celebrated our great black players as well, a lesson that no matter how tolerant & enlightened we think we are there’s still a long way to go. We stand with you Bacca & well done for calling it out.
@bcfcmaim: we luv u bacca 🤍
@ayy_jay: FIND THEM! Sending much love to all of our players esp Bacca who is my fav btw. No room for racism ANYWHERE ever
@_YorkshireLass_: Always have my support Bacca especially when you played for us! Nobody should have to deal with that! Life time ban for the culprit!! @htafc
@PhilHyde9: To use racism in the ground is despicable enough but in Arthurs Area is truly unforgivable
@davekimubaru: This is good to hear. Sadly, some of the behaviour in Arthur’s Area is not what it should be. I’ve had to personally admonish a parent for encouraging his kids making racial jokes in front of my own mixed race kids.
@mrbluesky2uk: Dreadful to hear of this incident. Whoever it is needs a lifetime ban and jail. Totally unacceptable. Ironically Bacuna had one of his best ever games for Blues. Solidarity with Bacuna and BCFC
@Bluey_Bcfc: Lifetime ban incoming, surely they will be able to find them
@Bradley_AJ: Disgusting that this is still happening. Love you Bacca 💙
@justinbcfc92: Swear it came from the family stand as well 😥 we all love you bacca 💙
@BluenoseGeo: Ban for life, that is a disgrace. Love you Bacca 💙
@richard_dancey: @JBacuna07 my heart sinks to read this. There’s simply no room for racism in society let alone football. Whoever made those comments will hopefully be brought swiftly to justice. Bacca you were superb tonight and I hope you know how much love and support there is for you.
@BrummieTom: We stand with Bacca 💙 find and ban whoever it was. No room for racism.
@oftenpartizan: Unbelievable , hope they find whoever it is, a ban I think. Jesus are we ever gonna be rid of this crap. 🤬🤬🤬
@nathancarty112: All stand with bacca that fan is disgusting never should be allowed back in anyway ground and St Andrews ever again
@WKG_97: The fact that this was from our own fans as well, ban them for life. Surely those around him heard whatever was said? Should’ve been dealt with there and then. Had a great game today & that’s how some fans want to treat him. Joke.