Dundee United manager Tam Courts says he is content with his actions after Jeando Fuchs claimed to have been racially abused by a Ross County fan.
The United player said that he had been targeted for racial abuse while celebrating a goal during the Premiership match between the sides earlier this month. At full-time, Courts approached the part of the stadium housing County fans and held aloft a Show Racism the Red Card t-shirt.
United launched an immediate investigation into the alleged abuse and passed their findings to Police Scotland earlier this week. On Thursday, Ross County released a statement saying that the authorities, including the police, had found no evidence of racist language and that the club and its supporters had been “fully exonerated.”
At his media call on Thursday, Courts, who said he had yet to read County’s statement, stood by his actions and explained his conduct as support for his player.
He said: “If I look at the incident that happened and the allegations, I’m actually quite content about what unfolded, in terms of our support for our player and also because as football fans we have to hold ourselves to really high standards in the stadiums.
“So for me the key thing is that on that day, Jeando was supported.
“I think he was supported and we showed a lack of tolerance for any sort of discriminatory behaviour in the stadium.”
Pressed on County’s insistence that no racist language was used, and whether it contradicted his own stance, Courts said: “I don’t think I was ever claiming anything, to be fair.
“I think what I was doing was that I was acting on the allegations that were made, wanting to support our player. And also, make sure that we understand that football’s a kind of tribal thing and we all want to support our team but also have to uphold ourselves to a high standard of behaviour towards each other when we come into football stadiums and also respect our players on the pitch.
“At the time, we were acting on allegations. Those allegations were corroborated and from my perspective it’s purely wanting to support our player on the day and also stand shoulder to shoulder with our opponents on the day, their wider fan base, just to let them know that we as football people have to stand up for any allegations that are made. Show Racism the Red Card should never be seen as an act of intimidation and it should be seen as an act of peace, and a reminder of what we should be standing up for in ourselves in terms of the wider society.”
Following the match, County manager Malky Mackay had said that he found Courts’ behaviour “interesting” and “clearly premeditated” while the Dingwall club’s chief executive Stephen Ferguson said in a statement that the t-shirt gesture was not “responsible handling of the matter”.
Courts remains sure that he acted in the correct manner.
He said: “When the allegations were made, I think what you have to factor in is that we had just scored a goal and Jeando came across to the bench at the time. Just to see the hurt on his face and the feelings that it invoked for him, and also that we spoke to him at half time and after the game and he was pretty adamant about what he heard.
“I think the key thing for me is that we need to stand up as a wider society and say we aren’t going to tolerate any sort of allegations.
“If these allegations are found then the key thing for me is that it just doesn’t have a place in wider society.
“We’ve got a total respect for Ross County as a football club and a total respect for their wider fan base. On that given day, we’re standing up for a very strong allegation that was later corroborated., just to say that in football, we’re just not going to tolerate that.”