Richmond Football Club has revealed that one of its players was racially abused at the same AFL game where an anti-Muslim banner was unfurled by a far-right group.
The latest claims come as AFL chief Gillon McLachlan condemned the banner raised at the MCG during Friday night’s clash between Collingwood and Richmond as “divisive, ignorant and deeply offensive”.
The sign, adorned with logos of the United Patriots Front and reading “Stop the mosques”, was displayed by the scoreboard at the City End of the ground at halftime on Friday.
A video of the banner being put in place was later uploaded to the UPF Facebook page.
Richmond said on Saturday that the AFL is investigating “another incident of abuse” involving Bachar Houli, who is Muslim.
“Bachar Houli, and the broader Muslim community, deserve better than having to endure the small-minded people that seek to promote division and hatred,” the club said in a statement on Saturday.
Mr McLachlan said the league’s security manager was investigating and if the people responsible were AFL members they would “be banned from games”.
“Our game has a history of egalitarianism and inclusion, and we must make sure that it continues to be a place where all Australians feel welcome,” Mr McLachlan said.
The banner, which also said “Go Pies”, drew swift condemnation from Collingwood, with president Eddie McGuire promising bans if the culprits were found to have any official connection to the club.
“The club awaits the outcome of further investigations into the matter by the AFL, the Victoria Police and MCG security,” a club statement read.
“Regardless, these people do not speak for Collingwood and are condemned by Collingwood. If it established that they have a formal connection to the club, this connection will be severed.
“There is no place at Collingwood, or in our game, for such behaviour.”
The UPF hit back at Mr McGuire in a video on Facebook on Saturday, saying he was in no place to criticise their views after his racist comments regarding Adam Goodes in 2013.
McGuire was forced to apologise for suggesting the indigenous player be used to promote the musical King Kong.