Birmingham goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was allegedly targeted by racist abuse from a supporter during his side’s dramatic FA Cup draw at Blackburn.
A visibly upset Etheridge was seen speaking to the referee after team-mate Jordan James had equalised in stoppage time for the Blues to secure a 2-2 draw and send the fourth-round tie back to St Andrew’s for a replay.
Birmingham boss John Eustace confirmed the Philippines international goalkeeper had reported the incident to the official and was left “shook up” after the game.
“Neil was racially abused which is bang out of order,” Eustace said.
“There’s no room for any racism in society, let alone in football. We’re really disappointed that’s happened. As a football club we don’t condone it at all and we’re fully behind him.
“The referee will report it and further action will be taken from there. It’s a very, very serious issue.
“Neil was shook up a little bit after the game, quite rightly so. The lads got right around him and made sure he’s OK and we’ll speak to him when we get on the bus and see how he is.
“The referee will report it first and foremost and it will be up to Blackburn as a club to deal with the situation.”
The Football Association later announced it will look into the incident.
A statement read: “We are aware of an alleged incident of racial abuse that was reported to the match official during the Emirates FA Cup match between Blackburn Rovers FC and Birmingham City FC.
“We take all allegations of discrimination extremely seriously and we will be investigating as a matter of urgency, working with the clubs and the relevant authorities.”
Eustace praised his side’s fighting spirit after they earned a replay.
Reda Khadra gave the visitors the lead but goals from Bradley Dack and Joe Rankin-Costello had Rovers on course for the fifth round.
But 18-year-old James came off the bench to level in stoppage time.
Eustace said: “They’ve had that fighting spirit throughout. The most important thing today is we didn’t give up.
“The manner we’re conceding goals at the moment is too soft but the big positive is we keep going.
“The group is young, inexperienced. We’re learning every day but what we do know about this group is they never give up.”
Blackburn head coach Jon Dahl Tomasson said his side should have managed the game better when ahead.
“I’m disappointed not to win the game if you look at the situation we were in,” he said.
“I think Birmingham are a good side. The team did well to come back from an early goal and brought us into a great position.
“We should have managed the game better, killed the game with those opportunities.
“We played some good football where we should have scored but of course in the end, conceding a goal through a mistake, and we need to get that out of our game.
“On the other hand, we’re still in the draw so we will go to Birmingham on Tuesday and try to win the game.
“Football is of course about mistakes, on and off the ball. It cost us a lot and we were in a great position to win the game today and we should probably have won it. We didn’t so we are disappointed.”
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