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English FA demand action over racist abuse

© Reuters 2002

LONDON, Oct 4 (Reuters) - England's Football Association is to hold urgent talks with the governing body of European football after several English players suffered racist abuse in European club competitions.

In the latest incident UEFA are to investigate claims that Ipswich Town striker Marcus Bent was abused in a UEFA Cup win at Yugoslav side Sartid Smederevo on Thursday.

UEFA are also looking into alleged abuse and missile-throwing directed at Arsenal players during last month's Champions League victory at PSV Eindhoven.

It is already looking into complaints from Fulham over their UEFA Cup tie at Hajduk Split and Liverpool's treatment at Valencia in the Champions League.

"We will be seeking urgent talks with UEFA," David Davies, the FA's director of international strategy, said in a statement.

"We need to step up the way in which we are looking at this issue - it is a worrying trend that it is the English clubs who seem to be suffering the most. We will sit down with UEFA to find new initiatives to tackle this problem."

The FA said it also hoped UEFA would host a meeting early next year of all the European national associations to discuss the issue of racism in football. Bent told BBC radio: "It was a hostile crowd. There was a lot of racist abuse, a lot of spitting when you went near the crowd.

A UEFA spokesman told Reuters on Friday: "We are aware of what happened and we are going to investigate."

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