Ross County chief executive Steven Ferguson has insisted that there was ‘no racist abuse’ directed at Dundee United’s Jeando Fuchs from his club’s supporters, and said United manager Tam Courts’ behaviour had been ‘irresponsible’ and ‘brought a risk to fans’.
United player Fuchs raised a complaint about abuse from the away fans after celebrating his side’s first-half goal in the 1-0 home win at Tannadice.
At full-time, Tangerines manager Courts crossed the pitch holding a Show Racism The Red Card t-shirt that he held up in front of the visiting fans.
Ferguson said that representatives from both clubs had investigated the incident immediately and that both Ross County’s safety officer and United stewards had confirmed that no racist abuse had taken place, though swearing had been heard.
“Following the opening goal at Tannadice, Ross County club officials were alerted to a complaint made by Jeando Fuchs of Dundee United to the match officials in relation to alleged racist language being used from the area housing our supporters,” Ferguson wrote in a statement issued by Ross County.
“The club instantly and pro-actively acted as we had a member of our safety team travelling with the squad, who is a highly experienced and former high-ranking police officer.
“During the end of the first-half and for the vast majority of the second-half our safety officer engaged with his Dundee United counterpart, Dundee United stewards and Ross County supporters as well as other representatives of both clubs where it was made clear to him from all parties that no racist language had been used during a chant that was aimed at Jeando Fuchs.
“Dundee United stewards were extremely close to the area where the chant had come from and had confirmed that no racist language had been used, however swearing and foul language had been.”
The County chief expressed sympathy with Fuchs over the situation, and stressed that the club understood the seriousness of the issue and had always worked to help eradicate racism from the game.
However, Ferguson also said that Ross County, their manager and supporters had all been targeted with unfair criticism that had been “very distressing”.
County manager Malky Mackay had said after the match that he believed there had been no racist abuse, and described United counterpart Courts’ behaviour as “interesting”.
Ferguson went further, suggesting that Courts’ action could have endangered away fans as they left the ground.
He said: “We also feel the gesture from Dundee United manager Thomas Courts towards our supporters did not reflect responsible handling of the matter given that representatives of both clubs upon the full-time whistle had come to the conclusion that no racist language had been used.
“This could also have incited risk to Ross County supporters leaving the stadium after the game.”
The club have said that they will support and cooperate with United as the club continues its own investigation into events, and also encouraged Police Scotland and the Scottish Football Association to look into the matter.