Dundee United have said they are investigating a “racist comment” after Jair Tavares was allegedly abused by a supporter during the premiership clash with Hibernian.
The Edinburgh club released a statement saying the forward, who replaced Marijan Čabraja on 77 minutes, was targeted as he went to retrieve the ball that had gone out of play during Tuesday night’s clash.
The club also confirmed that they have reached out to Dundee United regarding the incident and have appealed for further information from any witnesses.
They wrote: “Hibernian FC are aware of an incident in our cinch Premiership match with Dundee United, involving a racist comment directed towards one of our players.
“The incident took place in the latter stages of the second half as the player went to retrieve the ball that had gone out of play.
“Hibernian FC have made contact with Dundee United regarding this and would strongly support any investigation into this matter. We encourage anyone with information that could help identify the individual to come forward.
“Racist or discriminatory behaviour towards any player, official, staff member or supporter is completely unacceptable, and has no place in our game or wider society.
“At Hibernian FC, we believe whatever your race or background we are all together, and as a club with players, staff, and supporters from numerous different backgrounds, we stand in solidarity with those affected by such antisocial comments.
“There will be no further comment at this time.”
Dundee United said: “The footage appeared to transmit either racist or other derogatory language used within the stadium.
“We are currently investigating the incident and are working with all the relevant stakeholders to isolate the area of the stadium where the audio has been picked up and determine the content clearly.
“Initial investigations can confirm only two microphones were active within the stadium for the broadcast, and both were situated on our TV gantry within the Jerry Kerr Stand and placed at 45-degree angles.
“The footage shown on the broadcast at the time the alleged incident occurred, took place on the opposite side of the stadium from where the two microphones were placed.
“Dundee United has a zero-tolerance policy towards racism and racists are simply not welcome inside Tannadice Park.”
Writing on his own social media account, Tavares, who joined the club this June, said: “Almost 2023… smh [shaking my head] time goes on and nothing changes… this sh*t must end!!! Sad thing to hear but we stay strong.”
The incident comes a day after the Scottish Youth Football Association (SYFA), in a partnership with Show Racism the Red Card, launched a national programme of anti-racism workshops in an effort to “challenge discrimination”.
Former Hibs midfielder Marvin Bartley, who now serves as Equality and Diversity Advisor to the SFA, said the incident was as “clear as it gets” and called for action to be served against the “scumbag” allegedly involved.
Writing on Twitter, he said: “I tried and tried to convince myself that I had misheard this but after listening multiple times I’m unfortunately right.
“To hear someone shout this and abuse someone for their skin colour breaks my heart. We’re now at a point where either the authorities do something about it or they simply tell us they don’t care.
“I wish I could explain the pain and heartache this sort of stuff causes but it’s impossible to put into words.
“My heart genuinely goes out to Jair, all he was trying to do was his job and getting the ball to speed up play.
“There is no chance that the people around him didn’t hear the scumbag who shouted this. I hope the ones who did report it to the club but if they don’t then the SFA and SPFL need to come down hard because this is as clear as it gets.
“We can’t allow these people to ruin our beautiful game or ruin the reputation of a country I’m glad to call home.
“Nights like tonight are hard to deal with and I was only listening, it was aimed at Jair.
“If I can leave you with one thing – if you still fail to get it, look in the mirror and imagine the person looking back at you isn’t accepted by some because of the colour of your skin!”
An SPFL spokesperson said: “We are aware of reports of an alleged incident, which took place during last night’s match between Dundee United and Hibernian at Tannadice.
“We are making enquiries into this, including reviewing audio footage of the incident, and await the match delegate’s report.”