Campaigners angry over Mido chants

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Anti-racism campaigners Kick It Out have called for stern action after Middlesbrough striker Mido was subjected to Islamophobic chants at the weekend.

Egypt international Mido was targeted by Newcastle fans as he warmed up in Saturday's goalless Tyne-Tees derby at the Riverside Stadium.

Kick it Out director Piara Powar said: "This is the second consecutive season that we've seen Newcastle supporters directing Islamophobic abuse at Mido. This time both the FA and the police should act. It's time a message went out loud and clear to Newcastle fans that calling a Muslim a terrorist, a shoe bomber, or whatever else, is against the law and can have serious implications."

The FA have also expressed their concern and hope the clubs will be able to find the individuals concerned.

An FA spokesman said: "Our position on these matters always is that any individuals who are identified and found guilty of discriminatory chanting, we will be calling for them to be banned.

"The responsibility lies with the police and the clubs to identify individuals responsible. We'll be liaising with them to make sure that happens."

Cleveland Police have confirmed 14 arrests were made at the Barclays Premier League fixture, 11 of which were inside the stadium. However, they have not said whether any were related to the incidences of offensive chanting.

Middlesbrough have not made an official statement but manager Gareth Southgate said after the game that while he wanted the perpetrators punished, he did not think the club as a whole should suffer.

Southgate said in the Daily Telegraph: "We have to rise above it. If people want to shout those things it's a reflection on them. There's a danger we go on a witch hunt. What do you do? Punish the club?

"They can't do anything about their travelling fans. It's individual decisions to sing what they want. I don't think that's fair. How can a club the size of Newcastle control individuals? It's a sensitive one and I understand the importance, but I don't want to put the pressure on an excellent club like Newcastle."

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Gareth Southgate

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