Birmingham’s Juninho Bacuna makes racist abuse allegation during West Brom loss

By Sports Desk February 03, 2024

Birmingham’s Juninho Bacuna has alleged he was racially abused at West Brom as boss Tony Mowbray called for stronger punishments.

The midfielder raised an incident with the fourth official Tom Nield in injury time of the 1-0 defeat at The Hawthorns.

Bacuna was seen pointing at the crowd at full-time, having also spoken to referee David Webb, while West Midlands Police are expected to launch an investigation.

“You have to have a deterrent for the guy who’s had a few drinks, he comes to the match and there’s an opportunity in his mind to shout some racial abuse,” said Mowbray, after Andreas Weimann’s late winner for Albion. “He has to think: ‘Hang on a minute’.

“You make decisions and there has to be a consequence, he shouts this thing and he knows he might never watch football again in this stadium.

“The consequences have to be severe. You can’t just say ‘sorry mate.’ What drives someone to say those things?

“Bacca told me what he said, I don’t think it’s pertinent to share those things but it’s not very nice.

“That individual should feel the consequences of his actions. It’s right he brings it to the attention of the officials.

“Whose job is it to make the right decisions and what are the consequences? They have to be really harsh so people think twice about racially abusing people.”

It is the third incident of alleged racial abuse towards Bacuna since September 2022.

Then he was targeted online after being sent off for Curacao against Indonesia and in October – against Huddersfield at St Andrew’s – he was abused.

Saturday’s game improved after an instantly forgettable first half – where the teams cancelled each other out – and Alex Mowatt headed wide eight minutes after the re-start.

Brandon Thomas-Asante also fired over but Birmingham came close to an opener with 20 minutes left, Kevin Long’s flick from Andre Dozzell’s corner hitting the inside of the post.

It was an escape the Baggies capitalised on and, with five minutes left, Weimann’s fine close-range finish from Darnell Furlong’s cross won it for the hosts.

But another incident – following last week’s crowd trouble during the FA Cup defeat to rivals Wolves – marred the game.

“I cannot speculate what happened there but it is something I know – if there is an incident our club will always analyse,” said Baggies boss Carlos Corberan, who became a dad for the second time on Friday after the birth of son Dario.

“Because if there is any antagonistic behaviour, I know my club and my players are always against this type of situations.

“I am in a club that is very proactive to create more fair situations for anyone.

“If there was something connecting with racism, I know my players always take the knee and we are one of the clubs that has been making more things in favour to avoid any type of antagonising situations.

“I know the club will take a serious investigation if something has been damaging to people.”

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