University of Sheffield probing claims banana was thrown at black student during ice hockey match

The University of Sheffield.
The University of Sheffield.
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A black student 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 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.

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

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 spokesperson for The University of Sheffield said: “The University of Sheffield and Sheffield Students’ Union will not tolerate racism and condemn the abhorrent behaviour by an individual during the recent Varsity sporting event.

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

The University has commenced an investigation and both the Students’ Union and University will fully cooperate with police who are investigating the matter.”

Sheffield Hallam University has also been contacted for comment.