Police end probe into racist banner aimed at ex-Birmingham owner

Lancashire Police has closed its investigation into a racist banner targeting former Birmingham City owner and CEO Xuandong Ren after no formal complaint was made.

On May 8, a number of protest banners appeared around Blackburn before Birmingham were beaten 5-2 at Ewood Park to finish 18th on the final day of the 2020/21 Championship season.

Birmingham said in a statement after the game that they had notified police because one of the banners was “undoubtedly racist”.

A racial slur was used on the banner which appeared to reference Xuandong Ren, who is from Hong Kong.

However, it is understood the club decided not to make a formal complaint when contacted by Lancashire Police.

The force has confirmed to Sky Sports News that its investigation has closed and no further action was taken.

Three days after the protests in Blackburn, Xuandong Ren resigned from his position at the club.

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Bristol City on Tuesday

In a statement released following the game in May, Birmingham branded the behaviour as “unacceptable” and said “there is no place for racism at Birmingham City”.

“Whilst the club will defend and respect supporters’ right to protest and be heard, racism in any form, directed towards anyone, will not be tolerated,” the club statement read.

“In recent weeks the club has taken a particularly strong stance supporting the anti-racism movement in football.

“Only last month, the club staged a seven-day social media blackout to fight against abuse in the game.

“We then joined the rest of the Premier League and fellow EFL (English Football League) clubs in a second boycott of social media platforms to reiterate our stance.

“To be clear, there is no place for racism at Birmingham City Football Club.

“We believe that the overwhelming majority of our supporters will share our disgust at the messaging of the banner, and those responsible for it do not represent our fan base.

“The police have been notified of the incident and the club will be offering our assistance to the authorities.”

Sky Sports News has contacted Birmingham City for comment.

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