England

Gillingham FC racist abuse complaint withdrawn

A football club has welcomed a decision that no action is to be taken over a complaint that racist comments were made during a game on Boxing Day.

Gillingham FC said it was prepared "to challenge and rigorously defend" the club and its manager Andy Hessenthaler following its game against Crawley.

Sussex Police said a 46-year-old man had been spoken to with regard to an alleged racially aggravated comment.

It said the complainant had said he no longer wished to pursue the matter.

'Unfounded allegation'

Officers said it followed an official complaint by a 49-year-old man after the game between Crawley and Gillingham in Crawley on Monday.

In a statement, Gillingham FC said it was "disappointed in the extreme that such suggestions were made and put into the public domain".

It described the complaint as an "unfounded allegation".

"Sussex Police have looked into the matter and have advised the club that they have closed their investigation and will be taking it no further," it said.

"We are pleased that we can now put the allegation behind us and focus on a tremendous result in the game and continue our preparations against Dagenham on Friday and beyond."

Crawley Town FC refused to comment.

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