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Wycombe vs Oxford United: Managers condemn alleged homophobic abuse reported at League One match

Alleged homophobic abuse reported at League One match between Wycombe Wanderers and Oxford United; Oxford boss Karl Robinson: "It's not acceptable. It has to be stamped out"; Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth: "There's no room for that in football and hopefully we can eradicate that"

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Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth and Oxford United boss Karl Robinson react after an incident of alleged homophobic abuse occurred during their League One encounter

Oxford United manager Karl Robinson and Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth have condemned alleged homophobic abuse reported at Adams Park on Saturday - and police are now investigating.

The game, which Wycombe won 2-0, was briefly stopped in the second half as referee Anthony Blackhouse spoke to both managers following a conversation he had had with Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale.

A stadium announcement then reminded fans to not use homophobic language at the ground, with those doing so being reprimanded.

Thames Valley police have confirmed they are investigating. A statement said: "Officers from Thames Valley Police are appealing for information and witnesses following reports of public order offences at the Wycombe Wanderers v Oxford United League One football match on Saturday (15/1).

In the second half of the match between 4pm and 4.45pm at Adams Park, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, it was reported that remarks of a homophobic nature were made by a small group of individuals."

Oxford said they would work with the authorities to investigate and 'would like to state as clearly as possible that discrimination of any kind is not acceptable at matches, home or away, or on social media.'

When questioned about what the referee said, Oxford boss Robinson said: "He said there was a homophobic shout from the crowd.

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"If it was one person, point him out and he's removed. But no one could point him out and we don't know what part of the ground that came from.

Karl Robinson's Oxford team are sixth in League One
Image: Robinson says homophobic abuse is 'unacceptable' after an alleged incident of discrimination during their defeat at Wycombe

"Someone said to me it was one person. I've known the goalkeeper for a long time - he's a good person and he wouldn't tell a lie.

"It's not acceptable. I've always been called one or two things throughout the course of my career but it's not acceptable the abuse that people get. There's words that people say that aren't acceptable but there's physical acts that are even worse and these also have to be stamped out. Some of the stuff going on today was disgusting.

"[There needs to be] education on the homophobic chant that's come out. I think we all know that the industry's working incredibly hard to stamp out any form of discrimination. But this one narrow-minded fool can't tarnish the reputation of this great game.

"We only ever speak about this moment of stupidity, rather than a collective group of fans who sang their hearts out for their teams."

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Highlights of Wycombe's 2-0 home win over Oxford United

Asked about the homophobic abuse, Ainsworth said after the match: "I didn't hear anything myself but obviously the people closest to the fans heard it.

"All I'll say on that is I'm proud to be in an era now where players are comfortable reporting it and referees are very comfortable dealing with it.

"We'll see what happens but there's no room for that in football and hopefully we can eradicate that.

Gareth Ainsworth
Image: Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth says he hopes homophobic abuse can be eradicated from football after the incident at Adams Park on Saturday

"We regard our values highly and our values are that this is a community and family club.

"Passions run high in a game, especially when it's against Oxford, but there's no room for stupidity or any kind of abuse in the game."

Writing on his Instagram page after the match, Stockdale said: "Great win today. Everyone put the massive effort in.
3/4 clean sheets makes me 😁

Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale condemned the abuse on Instagram after the match
Image: Wycombe goalkeeper David Stockdale condemned the abuse on Instagram after the match

"Also, I'm against any form of discrimination, racism, antisemitic behaviour or talk. There's no room for it in this game or any other. And I certainly won't stand by and let it happen."

Stockdale's team-mate David Wheeler, who came on as a 74th-minute substitute, tweeted after the match and praised the goalkeeper for "standing up against homophobia".

OXFORD STATEMENT

Oxford United will wait for reports to be completed but will work with the safety team at Wycombe Wanderers and all of the relevant authorities to investigate allegations of homophobic comments during today's game at Adams Park.

The club will examine all of the available evidence but would like to state as clearly as possible that discrimination of any kind is not acceptable at matches, home or away, or on social media.

Oxford United remain committed to providing a safe, inclusive environment for all supporters and will not tolerate any form of discrimination.

THAMES VALLEY POLICE STATEMENT

Officers from Thames Valley Police are appealing for information and witnesses following reports of public order offences at the Wycombe Wanderers v Oxford United League One football match on Saturday (15/1).

In the second half of the match between 4pm and 4.45pm at Adams Park, Hillbottom Road, High Wycombe, it was reported that remarks of a homophobic nature were made by a small group of individuals.

Investigating officer Sergeant Simon Gray, Thames Valley Police's Football Liaison Officer, said: "Unfortunately, we have received reports that a very small minority of fans in the away stand have made remarks of a homophobic nature during the League One match on Saturday.

"We are investigating these reports, and I would urge anybody who has any information, or who witnessed anything of this nature, to please contact Thames Valley Police on 101 or by making a report online, quoting reference number 43220021940.

"If you have information, but wish to remain anonymous, you can also call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

"The vast majority of supporters at this game behaved in an exemplary manner, and were a credit to both football clubs, but we take reports of this nature very seriously and will work with both clubs to investigate these allegations."

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