Police receive no reports over claims banana was thrown at black Sheffield student during ice hockey match

The University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield
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South Yorkshire Police has received no reports over claims a black student who allegedly had a banana thrown at him during an ice hockey match in Sheffield.

The male student was reportedly hit by the object while watching an ice hockey match between Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Sheffield as part of the annual Varsity Games at the Fly DSA Arena on March 21.

The Fly DSA Arena

The Fly DSA Arena

The Sheffield Hallam graduate was reportedly sat with two friends from the University of Sheffield when other crowd members started to abuse him because he was wearing Hallam clothing.

He is then said to have felt something hit him in the back of the head - which he recognised as a rotten banana.

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The University of Sheffield has reportedly confirmed it is investigating the incident.

But South Yorkshire Police said although officers are aware of the incident, a complaint has not yet being made to them.

A force spokesman said: "South Yorkshire Police are aware of this incident and that it has been reported to the university.

"At this time, a complaint has not yet been made to police.

"Officers are working to contact the man to establish if he wants to make a formal complaint in relation to this incident."

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Abdullah Okud, president elect of Sheffield Hallam University's black and minority ethnic students' committee, said in a post on Facebook: "On Wednesday March 21, a varsity game of ice hockey took place where both Sheffield Hallam and the University of Sheffield were competing against one and another.

"We are very concerned and deeply saddened that a racist event had occurred."

He added: "It is imperative now more than ever to condemn this incident and for both universities and student union’s to proactively work with all staff and students to make sure such incidents never happen again."

Mr Okud urged both universities to consider adopting "anti-racism and cultural sensitivity awareness training" for all sports teams and officers.

A University of Sheffield spokesman said: "The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students' Union will not tolerate racism and condemn the alleged abhorrent behaviour by an individual during the recent Varsity sporting event.

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“This alleged incident clearly contravenes the values of inclusion and respect which are fundamental to both organisations and will not be tolerated.

"The university and the students' union will fully cooperate with any subsequent police investigation."

He added that any student affected or worried by this alleged incident can contact central welfare and guidance for support and guidance at support@sheffield.ac.uk or 0114 222 4321. The Student Advice Centre in the Student Union also offers guidance to students at advice@sheffield.ac.uk or 0114 222 8600.