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News from Unmesh Desai: Assembly Member calls on West Ham United to denounce 'DFLA'

14 February 2019

London Local Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai AM, has called on West Ham United to formally distance itself from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA). He has written to Baroness Karren Brady, Chief Executive of the club, on the matter in the wake of footage which emerged last week of Liverpool FC’s Mohammed Salah receiving racist abuse from a West Ham supporter.

 

The alleged incident of Islamophobic abuse aimed at the football player occurred during West Ham’s home game against Liverpool at the London Stadium on 4th February. The club have since confirmed that they have handed evidence to the Metropolitan Police after conducting an internal investigation into the matter.

 

In his letter to Baroness Brady, Mr Desai commends the club for their swift action in condemning the incident and their work with the police to bring the perpetrator to justice.

 

However, he also calls for West Ham United go a step further and issue a statement denouncing the ‘Democratic Football Lads Alliance’. The DFLA are a far-right organisation that has been allegedly linked with a number of individuals involved with the club, and tries to draw in football club supporters throughout the country with an anti-Muslim stance.

 

In addition, as a lifelong anti-racism campaigner, Mr Desai has invited club representatives to meet with him to discuss further measures that could be taken to clamp down on hate crime taking place on matchdays.

 

 

 

Local London Assembly Member, Unmesh Desai AM, said:

 

“West Ham has one of the most dedicated fan communities and we should be very proud of the huge amount of positive work that the club does within the local area.

 

“For this reason, it is extremely disappointing that a small group of fans are tarnishing the image of the club and using matchdays to spread hate.

 

“However, it needs to be reiterated that this is certainly not an issue that is confined solely to West Ham. Sadly, we are seeing incidents of vile racist abuse taking place in football stands across the capital.

 

“This is why I have written to Baroness Brady to gain assurances that the club will lead by example, denounce the DFLA and in no uncertain terms distance themselves from this group, who have been strongly accused of spreading Islamophobic rhetoric”.

 

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • A copy of Unmesh Desai AM’s letter to Baroness Brady can be found attached;

 

  • Unmesh Desai AM is the London Assembly Member for City and East (covering Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Tower Hamlets and the City of London)

 

For more information please contact Research Support Officer, Nicholas Wilson, on 020 7983 4401. Number not for publication.

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