It is with deep sadness and surprise that we read the article on the Sky Sports News page in reference to racism shown to a Charlton Athletic (“CAFC”) supporter that resulted in him feeling he could not continue backing the team.
Firstly, we are not denying that racism exists in the game. Football reflects society and in society racism is present. We also sadly acknowledge that racism in the sport up and down the country seems to be increasing at an alarming rate.
However - we do feel that the report on the website shines a very bad light on CAFC as a club and also on the amazing work the Charlton Athletic Community Trust (“CACT”) and Charlton Athletic Race Equality Partnership (“CARE”) does in the local area.
CAFC has always been a family-orientated club, their heart is based in its community and our fans are local and have real passion for the Club and it players.
Both CAFC and CACT/CARE have always been and are widely acknowledged as leaders in the field of fighting prejudice, whether this is racism, homophobia / transphobia or any other discrimination based on Race, Gender, Sexuality, Disability or Religious Belief - in fact as LGBTQI supporters we find the Valley one of the most welcoming and safest stadiums in Football.
We also as a united front have not experienced any racism - surely something we should have according to the report. It makes the stadium sound toxic and paints the amazing fans that attend home and away matches as some of the most racist in the country. It is widely acknowledged that if someone is a racist there is a good chance they will also be homophobic. In that case we are surprised by the almost unilateral support our supporters group has received by the fans.
We also acknowledge that a lot of the claims are historical - however again, this is something that the majority of fans do not recognise, including many BAME members.
Charlton as a Club and an Academy have a great history of working with some of the greatest BAME players in the game – all have seemed happy with their time here and many are viewed as Charlton Legends such as Richard Rufus, Jason Euell and our Patron Paul Mortimer to name but a few – all or whom talk about Charlton with fondness and about the great work done on equality at the ground. Also it is vital to remember that another Legend Chris Powell went on from being a beloved player to becoming one of the favourite Managers of all time.
We are very happy to work with CAFC/CACT/CARE and the fantastic Charlton fans at stamping out all forms of hatred in football.
We feel immense sadness towards the person mentioned in the report - having to give up actively following the team you love must be soul destroying and wish we could help restore faith for him - however we maintain this article does not in our experience represent the fan base at Charlton who we maintain are some of the most loyal and liberal-minded fans of any club in the world.
The board of the Proud Valiants