FA clear Fleetwood staff for Akinfenwa 'fat water buffalo' jibe as PFA say 'white player wouldn't be described this way'

WYCOMBE and the PFA have slammed FA disciplinary beaks after no charges were brought against the Fleetwood staff member who called Adebayo Akinfenwa a “fat water buffalo”.

PFA chiefs claimed that the FA had failed in its duty to Akinfenwa, who is understood to be upset and unhappy about the decision.

The PFA said: "It is abundantly clear that a white player with a similar stature to Akinfenwa would never be described in the way he was during this incident.

“Black people have battled dehumanisation for centuries, and the PFA strongly condemns the use of all disparaging remarks that compare black players to animals.”

The decision followed a two-month probe into the incident at the League One play-off second leg in July.

A member of the Fleetwood technical staff made the comment to a match official during the game.

Wycombe made a formal complaint to the FA in the days after the match and the investigation found: “The witness accounts all confirmed the use of the term “water buffalo” or “buffalo”.”

Two of the match officials reported “they had not interpreted the words to be discriminatory” and were descriptions of Akinfenwa’s playing style.

As part of the inquiry, the FA commissioned a report from an independent expert in race relations, who “concluded that the words were not objectively racist”.

While commending Akinfenwa’s “courage and conviction” and conceding the offence that was caused, the FA stated it was “not satisfied there is sufficient evidence” to lay a charge.

But the outcome caused fury at Wycombe and PFA headquarters.

Wycombe blasted: “The failure of the FA to act is disappointing. The investigation confirms that the language was used. There is no place in sport for such comments.

“The Club believes the FA had the opportunity to take appropriate steps to ensure the conduct was punished appropriately and to make sure that everyone knows that this type of comment will not be tolerated in the future.”

And the PFA added: “This type of hurtful, derogatory language is unacceptable, regardless of intent.

“Adebayo showed great courage in coming forward to report this incident, which tarnished what should have been a night of celebration for Wycombe Wanderers.

“This incident demonstrates that bias extends to problematic language casually used on our pitches and in the dugouts.

“We share Adebayo’s disappointment that this allegation will not be upheld, especially since he took steps to speak publicly about the incident’s emotional impact.

“We are in contact with Adebayo, and will continue to offer him our support.”

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