Olivier Bernard says he "totally agrees" with an accusation that local football authorities have tried to brush a racist incident under the carpet.
Sky Tyne and Wear cameras captured a racist slur at Newcastle Benfield's match against Guisborough Town in the Northern League on January 2, 2012.
The abuse was allegedly directed at Benfield’s Jordan Lartey, after his uncle Dez Lartey pointed out a Guisborough player as the culprit.
His complaint to Kick it Out eventually ended up in the hands of the North Riding FA, because Guisborough is in their area.
After an investigation, which included a review of Sky Tyne and Wear's footage, they decided to take no further action.
Bernard, an ambassador for Show Racism The Red Card, agreed with Dez Lartey’s claim that the incident had been brushed under the carpet.
The former Newcastle player said: “We can blatantly hear it, therefore it has got to be addressed correctly.
“It needs to be investigated more than it has been done I have got the feeling that there is an injustice.”
Dez Lartey, who was at the match, said: "I witnessed it and my son witnessed it, so that should be enough for them to take action in one way or another.
"I want them to acknowledge that there is a problem. I just got a bit concerned that they are trying to brush it under the carpet, I don’t know, maybe they don’t want it on their patch.
Bernard conceded there may not be enough evidence to charge the player in question but still feels action of some sort should be taken.
He said: “There is probably not enough evidence out on the table but the massive piece of evidence is we can hear on the video and for that you should address both clubs to make sure that incident doesn’t happen again.
“It is a lot to do with education and I believe Guisborough’s staff and probably both teams should be educated on the topic."
Guisborough have protested their player’s innocence at every stage but Bernard was particularly disappointed with their response to the complaint.
When contacted by Sky Tyne and Wear after the investigation their secretary Keith Smeltzer initially suggested there had been no incident at all but then said, "The words have been attributed to the wrong man. It has been blown out of all proportion."
During the investigation Guisborough declined an opportunity to view the footage. Mr Smeltzer explained why: "There was nothing on it to interest us. It was an unsubstantiated allegation. We didn’t need to see it because we knew it was wrong."
When asked if, regardless of who made the remark, he was concerned that a racist incident happened during a match involving his team Mr Smeltzer said: "No, there has been an investigation. Nothing happened.”
Bernard said: “Guisborough should have definitely emphasised on racism, they should have said racism is unacceptable.”
The player at the centre of the row, Jordan Lartey, did not hear the abusive comment at the time.
On being shown the footage by Sky Tyne and Wear, he seemed resigned to it.
He said: "Racism is always going to be alive, it’s improving but people are still going to come out with racist remarks whether you like it or not."
Bernard offered his support to the player saying: “We are going to offer support to Jordan who has obviously been abused and sometimes you need somebody to talk to and we are there for him if he needs to talk to somebody.”
Despite the inconclusive end to North Riding FA’s investigation it seems the matter will now rest.
Having investigated Guisborough, North Riding FA cannot go any further and despite it happening in their area the Northumberland FA feel they cannot investigate the incident at all.
Their chief executive Rowland Maughan told Sky Tyne and Wear: "There is nothing we can do. We have nowhere we can go. All the enquiries have been made by the North Riding FA."
Dez Lartey insists he will try to take the case forward with the backing of anti-racism groups.
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