England have lodged a complaint that Kyle Walker was racially abused by Kamil Glik, according to Poland's Football Association. The flashpoint came at the end of the first half of the stormy 1-1 World Cup qualifier in Warsaw on Wednesday. Poland have denied the allegation.
The players of both teams came together after England had defended a free-kick just before half-time with Harry Maguire taking exception to something that happened. The England defender had to be held back by team-mates. Television footage showed Glik pinching Walker on the neck. Glik and Maguire were booked.
The Poland media officer and team manager, Jakub Kwiatkowski, was called out of the dressingroom at half-time to be told that two English Football Association members of staff – the team manager, Emily Webb, and the security head, Tony Conniford – were talking to the fourth official. When Kwiatkowski intervened, he learned they said Glik’s behaviour towards Walker had been racist, although the specifics are unclear.
The fourth official called for the Fifa delegate, who took witness statements and said the game should continue.
Kwiatkowski returned to the dressingroom to report what had just taken place and ask for comments. Glik and the rest of the Poland players in the melee said there had been no racism.
“The English FA said there had been a racist remark made but Glik says that is completely not true,” Kwiatkowski said. “I know the players and they have not done that and nor would they. We completely deny any allegations of wrongdoing.”
Glik appeared angry after the confrontation with Walker that his offer of a handshake was refused. “There was some scuffle,” Glik said. “Later, I wanted to shake Walker’s hand but he didn’t accept it. There was some sort of verbal scuffle but nothing more happened there.”
The FA, having reported the incident to the refereeing team and match delegate, feels it is up to Fifa to look into it. On Thursday, Fifa said: “Fifa is in the process of analysing the official match reports. The relevant information will be assessed by the competent disciplinary bodies in order to decide on next steps.”
Harry Kane, the England captain, spoke to the referee in the immediate aftermath of the incident before leaving the pitch. "It's been reported to the FA guys," he said. "They're taking care of it and investigating it and we'll go from there. Allegedly, it was something that was done, not said."
Zbigniew Boniek, a Uefa vice-president and former Poland international, referenced England taking a knee before kick-off in a tweet that criticised Walker: “First they kneel and then Walker looks at Kamil Glik with contempt and does not want to shake Kamil’s hand . . . total hypocrisy, that’s where it started.” – Guardian