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Anti-racism campaigners back Mido

Anti-racism campaigners believe peer pressure will continue to be the best way of stamping out the kind of abuse aimed at Middlesbrough's Mido.

The 24-year-old Egyptian was targeted by travelling Newcastle fans during Sunday's 2-2 Premier League draw at the Riverside Stadium as players from both sides were subjected to chants from the stands.

However, it was songs referring to Mido's religion - he is a Muslim - which have sparked a major debate in recent days.

The FA is to seek the observations of both clubs over the matter, but Piara Powar, director of Kick It Out, insists the fans themselves can help stamp out racism while still passionately supporting their team.

He said: "Rivalry is healthy. The process of sledging opposition sides or insulting opposition sides is something that is as old as the game itself.

"It is part and parcel of high-level sport and part and parcel of most spectator sports.

"But strong rivalries cannot become an excuse for abusive behaviour on the basis of race, religion or even the basis of someone's sexuality.

"This is where peer pressure is so important. We need to make sure other people feel empowered enough to say, 'I disagree with that', and feel quite able to express their disapproval, as they have done over the abuse of black players.

"We need to reinforce these messages and to make sure we draw the line between acceptable chants and forms of abuse that are acceptable.

"Most people know where the line is drawn in terms of abuse of black players, most people know where the line is drawn in Glasgow, for example, in terms of religion."

Kick It Out has promised to work with both clubs and the authorities in an effort to deal with the issue.

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Tribal Football Staff

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