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Fulham vow 'strongest possible action' against fans accused of racially abusing sister of defender Christie

7:26 AM GMT+8 04/08/2019
Cyrus Christie Fulham 2019
The Republic of Ireland international was disgusted by the response of a pair of fans after the Cottagers lost their Championship opener at Barnsley

Fulham are investigating after defender Cyrus Christie claimed his sister was assaulted and racially abused by fans following his side's 1-0 defeat at Barnsley.

The Cottagers got their first season back in the Championship off to a disappointing start at Oakwell but Irish international Christie was incensed at the reaction from two as-yet unidentified fans in the away end.

He tweeted his anger at a man who he said hit his sister, before his wife tried to justify his actions with racist language.

A statement from Fulham on Saturday night read: “Fulham Football Club is investigating an incident which took place in the away end at the Barnsley v Fulham fixture this afternoon.

“Should the perpetrators be identified, the Club will be taking the strongest possible action.”

This isn’t the first time Irish international Christie has highlighted racist abuse from the stands during his career.

He has spoken of suffering abuse from fans while on international duty on more than one occasion, and posted a series of screenshotted abusive messages from fans with the caption “Nothing changes… nothing gets done” in April last year.

Earlier this week, the Football Association increased the minimum ban for anyone found guilty of racist abuse to six matches, though it seems Fulham would be likely to apply a much stronger penalty.

They may follow the example of Chelsea, who last week banned a fan for life after abusing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling, with five other fans banned for between one and two years. 

Anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out recently released figures showing that reports of racist abuse in English football had gone up by 43 per cent last season, from 192 to 274. Including all forms of discrimination, reports of abuse in general rose by 32%, not including reports from social media. 

Christie, 26, has made more than 30 appearances for Fulham since joining from Middlesbrough in last year’s January transfer window. 

He has previously played for Derby County and Coventry City, and has played 22 times for his country.