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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 5, 2011

Obinna denies racism talk

West Ham forward Victor Obinna has denied reports his relatives suffered racist abuse at Upton Park on Saturday, saying he does not even have any family in England.

Hammers probe racism claims

The Hammers confirmed on Monday they were investigating claims that the families of Obinna and Frederic Piquionne were racially abused by spectators at Saturday's match against Manchester United.

Reports emerged that guests of the two strikers were involved in a confrontation with a small group of fans during the 4-2 home defeat to the Premier League leaders.

Nigeria international Obinna, 24, has now categorically denied those claims.

"Nothing happened - I do not have any of my family members in England," he told BBC Sport. "There is no point asking me to confirm or verify an incident that never happened - I was in total shock when I heard and read about it in the papers.

"I didn't have any of my relatives at the game and I do not know anyone who complained of any racial incident at the game."

Hammers co-chairman David Sullivan had said he was "appalled" by reports the families were racially abused while sitting in a box in the Main Stand.

West Ham earlier released an official statement on denouncing the behaviour and promising a full investigation into the allegations, a move welcomed by football's equality and inclusion campaign Kick It Out.

Kick It Out spokesman Danny Lynch said: "We've always advocated a zero tolerance approach to any form of discrimination in the game. This sort of thing gives the perception that it sets us back and I think it masks all the hard work clubs like West Ham do.

"We welcome West Ham's very proactive stance yesterday, with David Sullivan coming out saying he would investigate it and I think that is what we need.

"West Ham are a very community-focused club anyway and they have seen the incident as a blot on the rest of the supporters so there is no doubt they will take the action that needs to be done."

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