Akinfenwa claims FA could have stamped racial terminology out of game

‘How can they say they said it but they can’t deem it as racist? They let me down’: Adebayo Akinfenwa claims FA could have stamped racial terminology out of the game had they punished Fleetwood Town staff member who called him a ‘fat water buffalo’

  • Adebayo Akinfenwa was called a fat water buffalo during a semi-final last season
  • The Wycombe striker said he felt ‘dehumanised’ by the slur aimed at him 
  • The FA decided the term used by a Fleetwood Town member was not a racial slur 
  • Akinfenwa admits that is difficult to accept and said he fears repeat incidents

Adebayo Akinfenwa insists he was let down by the FA after he was called a fat water buffalo by a member of the Fleetwood Town staff.

The Wycombe striker was incensed after ‘repeatedly’ being called it during last season’s League One play-off semi-final between the two sides, saying he felt ‘dehumanised’ by what he felt was a racist term.

The FA decided that the term was not a racial slur and therefore the Fleetwood staff member was cleared – a verdict that last month left Akinfenwa ‘disappointed – and now the forward claims it is incomprehensible given that they admitted it was said.

Adebayo Akinfenwa insists he was let down by the FA after he was called a ‘fat water buffalo’

Akinfenwa (bottom left) was speaking on The Beautiful Game Podcast when commenting


‘I was not actually surprised, but I was. I didn’t expect anything different but then it came out and you think ‘rah, this is what they came with,’ Akinfenwa told The Beautiful Game Podcast.

‘That’s the bad thing, how can they say, you know what, they said it but they can’t deem it as racist, or they are unsure and they can’t prove it as racist? I never heard the comment, it was told to me 24 hours later by white members of my team, who deemed it as racist.’

Akinfenwa added that by not following their own example of introducing a complete ban on betting on football for all players and managers in 2014, the FA passed up the chance to stamp racial terminology out of the game for good while also fearing there could be similar repeat incidents.

The FA decided that the term was not a racial slur, a verdict which disappointed Akinfenwa

‘There was a stage in my career where you were allowed to gamble as footballers but you weren’t allowed to gamble in the league you played in. Then they [the FA] said [there were] too many grey areas, so footballers can’t bet on any football and stamped it out.

‘They had the opportunity right now to stamp out anything racial or racial terminology and say no grey areas. But they didn’t, they said ‘yes we know it was said, but we can’t prove it was, but we cant prove it wasn’t’.

‘For me right there and then, they let me know what these people were about, and that’s why I mean when I say they let me down. Going forward now, another person can say it to another person with no fear of repercussions.

‘If we are going to do something and change the game and change society they could have done something there but they chose not to. For all of you that say you want a more inclusive game, you really don’t because you had a chance to make a stand and you chose not to.’ 

But Akinfenwa claims he could not understand the ruling and now fears repeat incidents

Akinfenwa’s comments come after he made his own statement on Instagram following the FA’s ruling on the incident last month, where he admitted his disappointment but added he was not surprised.

‘I just received the outcome from the FA on my complaint. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I surprised? No.

‘Before I get started, listen I already know that talking anything race is an uncomfortable conversation. I have said it numerous times we need to have these uncomfortable conversations. I know racial terminology is a trigger to some people but let me say this. I am disappointed with the FA’s final findings are.

‘See, they basically confirmed that a comment was said, but said that it could be deemed racist or not racist so they aired on the caution of it not being racist. I was told about this comment 24 hours after the comment was said and I got told by white members of my football club. And they waited 24 hours to tell me because they know how I would have reacted if they told me on that day.

‘Therefore, there would have been a bigger backlash I would have got suspended, I would have got done for whatever I would have got done for. And they chose to wait 24 hours because they deemed it as racist.

‘See, the FA had an opportunity to stamp this out and say that there is no grey areas, wrong is wrong and so it never happens again we are going to follow through. They chose not to.’

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