I have been racially victimised, says Anichebe

Victor Anichebe. Photo; DAILYMAIL

Former Everton striker Victor Anichebe says he was the victim of racial profiling after he was stopped by police while driving his car last week on Merseyside, reports skysports.com.

The 32-year-old, who has also played for West Brom and Sunderland, revealed in a wide-ranging interview to Sky Sports News that he was left “tired” and “angry” by the incident.

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Anichebe was pulled over after leaving a petrol station and said he told officers that their behaviour was “a disgrace”, before he was allowed to continue his journey without further action.

“A lot of the times, I am a lot more cool and level-headed but because of everything that is going on I am just tired,” said Anichebe of his reaction to being stopped by the police.

“They shouldn’t have even pulled me over for starters. I was only coming out of a petrol station [and] they were pulling into the petrol station.

“They did a U-turn and followed me for a good five minutes. That is a long time when you are driving. They pulled me over and said I drove over a kerb of something.

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“I told them every single thing that I thought. I said it is a joke, a disgrace and it is only because I am black and driving a nice car that you are pulling me over.

“They just kept saying the same thing, that this is routine and I shouldn’t be angry. But we are, we are all angry. We are tired of all the things that are going on.

“We don’t want people to feel sorry for us, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me that any of this is happening. I just want things to start changing and it has to change pretty soon too.”

In response, a spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “As part of their work day-in-day out officers on patrol will stop people if there has been a concern with their standard of driving.

“It is incumbent on us as a Force to ensure that we keep our roads safe. If someone clips a kerb we may stop them to ensure that there is no other reason, such as driving under the influence of either drink or drugs or even illness or a medical episode, both for their protection and that of other road users.

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“If the officers are satisfied that this is not the case then the driver will be allowed to carry on without any penalty as was the case in this instance.

“In just a six-month period last year we had 263 road traffic collisions in which people were killed or seriously injured on the roads of Merseyside.”

Anichebe was previously approached by police officers in Cheshire while out shopping in 2009 and subsequently received a personal apology from the assistant chief constable, but says he is still in disbelief over the incident.

Meanwhile, Anichebe also revealed his desire to buy a football club and improve Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation at boardroom level within the sport.

“Instead of wanting change, we can be the change ourselves”

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The lack of ethnic minority representation in positions of power across sports has come to light through the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months, after Raheem Sterling called on English football to address the problem in June.

“We have to have a seat at the table to really effect change,” Anichebe said.

“We can’t try and affect change from the outside and looking in. I have seen a couple of players say they want to become CEOs or sporting directors and I think that is what we need to do.

“We need to aspire to these positions. But also, when we aspire to these positions [we then need] to get an opportunity to be in these positions. All of us together have a big role to play.”

The 32-year-old has seen former Everton team-mate Tim Howard became a part-owner of English fifth-tier club Dagenham & Redbridge and United Soccer League side, Memphis 901.

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