MALTA Police investigate claims of racist abuse against St.Kitts-Nevis National Goalkeeper Julani Archibald

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Julani Archibald said he was saddened by the incident in his debut match

(TIMES MALTA) Julani Archibald said he was racially abused by a Floriana fan during a game on Saturday.

Police are investigating claims a goalkeeper was racially abused as he made his debut during a Premier League match.

Eyewitnesses say a group of Floriana fans shoulted insults at Santa Luċija keeper Julani Archibald at the Tony Bezzina Stadium, in Paola on Saturday.

One in particular was heard shouting a racist slur.

Police told Times of Malta investigations are ongoing to identify the alleged people involved. 

The player said on Facebook that he was proud to be black and sad that racism still exists in football.

“Happy to make my debut for my new club Santa Luċija. On the other hand its sad in today’s world that fans are still being racist,” Archibald wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday.

“I’m proud of being black but there’s no room for racism in our game.”

The player, from St. Kitts and Nevis, thanked his teammates and coaching staff for their support “in this difficult period of time”.

The abuse, alleged to have happened after Santa Luċija scored a second goal in the match, has been roundly condemned by both clubs and the Malta Football Association, who said it was cooperating with the police.

“The Malta FA reiterates that football must not be used by anyone to convey discriminatory messages whether based on race, gender or any other individual attribute,” it said.

Angelo Chetcuti, General Secretary of the MFA, told Times of Malta that the organisation was considering measures including empowering referees to stop a game and order fans to leave a match if racist abuse persists.

Santa Luċija FC said the club stood “shoulder to shoulder” with Archibald and called for the MFA to take “strong, effective and urgent action” against those responsible.

Floriana FC distanced themselves from the action of a section of their supporters and urged authorities to take action.

“The club will offer no protection to this unacceptable behaviour by one person who purchased online tickets to enter the Floriana stands,” it said.

The match ended in a 2-2 draw.

This is not the first time racism has come up in Maltese football.

Earlier this year, Maltese National football player Maya Lucia shared racist slurs she heard from parents of rival team players, whilst playing a Women’s Under 19-league match.

Last year, Rashed Al-Tumi also faced abuse by San Gwann Youth Nursery official Manuel Pisani, when he said black people should be sent to Africa.

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