Millwall racist chanting: Steve Kavanagh calls for football authorities to work together to educate fans

Large police presence at Millwall
There was a large police presence at The Den following fighting between fans before the match

Racism isn't "just a Millwall thing" but is a problem "across society", says club chief executive Steve Kavanagh.

Millwall supporters could be heard using a racist term that is derogatory to the Pakistani community during Saturday's 3-2 FA Cup win at The Den.

The Football Association and the Metropolitan Police are investigating.

"If a person has gone and bought a top that says Millwall, does that make me responsible for that person? Or is society responsible for them?" he said.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Nihal Arthanayake, Kavanagh added: "Let's face it: our society is having a bit of a rough time at the moment and people are having a go at each other about various different things.

"There is a rise in racism so you will never win this, because there are always people who aren't educated.

"This isn't just a Millwall thing, this happens across society. You try and tell me there hasn't been this sort of chant at another club this season in this country - I won't believe you.

"It's an issue that is out there in society. We will take responsibility for our guys, but let's find a way to try and work together to find different solutions to get this education piece across."

On Sunday, Millwall said they will "ban for life" anyone indentified using racist abuse.

But Kavanagh believes more needs to be done to eradicate the problem, which he says requires numerous authorities to work together as one.

"If you think you can come to Millwall and chant racism, no you can't. This is a safe place to come," he said.

"We're being damaged by 30-40 people. We haven't won this. No one has won. But this isn't just a Millwall problem.

"As Millwall Football Club, we can't be responsible for educating the whole of south east London.

"We need the authorities, the FA, Kick It Out, ourselves and other clubs, we need to all come together and find a way of actually using football's place in society to educate people.

"It has been swept under the carpet by football, I agree with that, but I can assure you it hasn't been swept under the carpet by Millwall."

The chanting at Millwall comes weeks after Chelsea faced allegations of racist abuse and chanting at games, including the alleged racist abuse of Manchester City and England midfielder Raheem Sterling in December.

Also speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Kick It Out's Troy Townsend said: "The small minority is carrying a very loud voice through football and it's something that the game needs to stand up to and tackle for the better of the game.

"That will then hopefully have an impact on society."

In a separate incident, a man was slashed across the face during a mass brawl before the game that the Metropolitan Police believes involved groups of rival fans.

On Monday, a senior Met Police officer said it was "some of the most shocking football violence seen for some time".

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