Liverpool have lodged an official complaint to UEFA about Spartak Moscow after Rhian Brewster – one of the stars of England’s Under-17 World Cup winners – was racially abused.
Brewster reacted with fury towards the end of Liverpool’s 2-0 UEFA Youth League victory over Spartak at Prenton Park and needed to be restrained by his team-mates and coaching staff. It is alleged that the abuse came from one of Spartak’s players.
So upset was Brewster – who is regarded as one of the brightest young talents in the English game and is hugely admired by Jurgen Klopp – by what had happened that it wasn’t until he returned to Liverpool’s dressing room that staff were able to calm him down over the incident.
Liverpool academy player Rhian Brewster was upset after being subjected to racist abuse against Spartak Moscow
Liverpool Under-19 coach Steven Gerrard had to step in and calm Brewster down at full-time following the alleged abuse
The abuse occurred during the closing minutes of the Youth League encounter – Liverpool have now complained to UEFA
It would be bad enough if this incident was a one-off, but Liverpool are enraged as Brewster’s team-mate Bobby Adekanye suffered similar abuse when the two teams met in Moscow in September.
Adekanye was targeted by fans in Moscow, who aimed chants and gestures at him. The punishment, though, was risible, with Spartak needing only to close a part of their Academy stadium on the outskirts of the city.
Liverpool youth coach Steven Gerrard, who had to console 17-year-old Brewster, said: ‘It’s difficult for me to comment on it right now. It’s something that the club will look into and deal with. I’d rather talk about Rhian Brewster’s performance. I don’t want to take any gloss off that because he was superb.’
Gerrard vowed after the match that Liverpool would ‘look into and deal with’ the abuse suffered by the 17-year-old
Brewster had to be held back by team-mates at the final whistle after one of the Spartak players allegedly abused him
Brewster informed match referee Mohammed Al-Hakim that one of the Spartak defenders had said something to him during the closing stages of the match and the message was passed on to the fourth official Scott Oldham.
The two sets of players did not shake hands at the final whistle and Brewster had to be calmed down by Liverpool coach Gerrard while the club’s academy director Alex Inglethorpe spoke to the referee.
Kick It Out, the anti-racism campaigners, issued a statement saying: ‘Kick It Out is appalled to hear that a Liverpool Football Club youth team player has been subjected to racial abuse for the second time this season in a UEFA Youth League fixture against Spartak Moscow.
Brewster in action during the UEFA Youth League fixture, which Liverpool won 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Prenton Park
England World Cup winner Brewster in action during the win on Wednesday, which takes them through in the tournament
‘Less than two months ago, Spartak Moscow supporters were found guilty of racially abusing Liverpool’s Bobby Adenkanye, however it is clear that UEFA’s punishment of a partial stadium closure was far from sufficient to protect Liverpool’s players from further disgraceful treatment.
‘Kick It Out has worked closely with Liverpool over the past two years to offer support regarding on-field incidents of discrimination, and believes the club has been let down by UEFA in their response.’
Brewster was outstanding as England claimed the Under-17 World Cup in India earlier this year, scoring eight goals during the tournament to win the Golden Boot for top goalscorer.
First-half goals from Curtis Jones and George Johnston secured Liverpool’s progression into the knockout stages of the Youth League as winners of their group.
Liverpool coach Gerrard said the club will ‘look into and deal with’ the alleged abuse suffered by the teenager
Brewster is pictured on the left of the back row as Liverpool line up prior to the match at Tranmere Rovers’ Prenton Park
Curtis Jones celebrates scoring Liverpool’s opening goal in the Youth League encounter against Spartak Moscow