A FOOTBALL club has been fined for taking its players off the pitch during a football match after its goalkeeper was allegedly racially abused.

Padiham FC’s chairman Shaun Astin slammed the punishment of a £165 penalty and asked “where is the justice?” on social media.

The club’s North West Counties Football League away fixture at Congleton Town in October was called off after Tony Aghayere was allegedly racially abused in the second half.

Liam Smith, the club’s manager at the time, took the decision to remove the players from the pitch.

Following a hearing, the club was fined £165 by the Lancashire Football Association and Congleton Town were fined £160.

A club spokesman said several of the players’ wallets were emptied in the changing rooms during the match.

In a tweet, Mr Astin said: “We decided to take our players off in a game because our goalkeeper was being racially abused.

“We were fined £165 and the (alleged) offending club were fined £160.

“Where is the justice there?”

It is unknown who was responsible for the abuse directed at the former Burnley FC youth player.

This comes after Manchester City star Raheem Sterling was allegedly racially abused during England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Montenegro.

The England forward said he would not leave the pitch if he heard abuse because it would let the racists win.

Mr Smith said: “I am very shocked to see the decision regarding the fine.

“I made a decision on the day to support my player and make a stand against racism.

“It was absolutely the correct decision and I would do it again tomorrow.

“In light of recent incidents this could have been an opportunity to highlight and educate people around issues we still face in modern football.

“I hope the decision does not deter other managers and clubs away from acting the same way we did on the day.

“I actively encourage the FA and anti-racism body Kick It Out to reconsider this decision and do the right thing.”

Runcorn Linnets FC said the club wanted to contribute towards the fine to support Padiham.

The club tweeted: “We are somewhat disappointed that Padiham have been fined by for taking a stand against racism.

“We would like to offer £50 towards the fine.”

A Hallmarks Security League spokesman said all allegations of this nature are taken “extremely seriously” and it refers any cases to the FA to investigate.

The Lancashire FA statement said: “Following the Congleton Town FC V Padiham FC game on October 6 2018 , both Cheshire FA and Lancashire FA have carried out a joint investigation resulting in a charge for both clubs of alleged misconduct under FA Rule E20.

“The matter was subsequently heard by an Independent Regulatory Commission convened by The Football Association [The FA]. Written reasons will be published by The FA in due course and both clubs would have had the opportunity to appeal the outcome.

“All county FAs continue to work hard – both independently and collectively – on tackling any forms of discrimination within the game.

“We encourage all participants and clubs to continue to report incidents and actions that fall into the categories of discrimination or racist abuse, so we can work together on eradicating it completely from the game.”