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Hartlepool fans warned not to 'black up' and wear Bob Marley costumes

Supporters of the League Two outfit were planning to travel to Carlisle in fancy dress, but Kick It Out have warned them against it.

It's traditional for Pools fans to dress up for their final away game of the season.
It's traditional for Pools fans to dress up for their final away game of the season.
Image: Daniel Hambury

FANS OF HARTLEPOOL United have been advised to think again about dressing up like Bob Marley for their final game of the season.

The League Two club, who sit just one point above the relegation places, play Exeter at home tomorrow before a trip to Carlisle next weekend. Supporters traditionally attend the last away game of the campaign in fancy dress and they have donned Thunderbirds and Smurfs costumes in recent years.

Their latest plan is to go as reggae legend Bob Marley, but anti-racism body Kick It Out released a statement condemning the idea after five complaints were made about ‘blacking up’.

“We have received a number of complaints from Hartlepool United supporters about the Bob Marley fancy dress theme planned by a group of the club’s fans for their fixture against Carlisle United at Brunton Park on Saturday 2 May,” reads the Kick It Out statement. “

The main concerns raised have been over the potential of fans deciding to ‘black up’.

“We have subsequently followed up on the complaints by contacting both Hartlepool United and Carlisle United on the matter.

“We clearly outlined that ‘blacking up’ has historically been a way of acting out racist stereotypes, and while the theme planned by fans may be well intended and chosen as part of an annual fancy dress tradition, such behaviour, if it occurs, is likely to cause offence.”

France Bob Marley Jamaican singer Bob Marley, who passed away in 1981. Source: Langevin

“We have provided guidance to both clubs on the matter, and advised Carlisle United of our own stance that if any fans do choose to ‘black up’ they should be refused entry to their stadium,” it adds.

“We have also contacted The Football Association, the Football League, and the United Kingdom Football Policing Unit to inform them of the complaints we have received from Hartlepool United supporters.

“If we do receive complaints informing us that supporters have ‘blacked up’ at the fixture between Carlisle United and Hartlepool United, or that any incidents or disturbances of a discriminatory nature have occurred, we will follow our usual procedures by making The Football Association and the Football League aware for them to investigate.”

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