Suspended Crawley Town manager John Yems has refused to answer questions about allegations he separated players into different changing rooms based on the colour of their skin.
The club, the Football Association (FA) and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) are all investigating the claims made by seven players, who accused him of repeatedly using racist language and segregating players.
When a senior Sky News producer asked Mr Yems if he had any comment in response to the allegations the 62-year-old called the police to complain about being approached in the street.
Sky News has also spoken to one former player who has now left the club after being managed by Mr Yems.
He wanted to remain anonymous but said he believes the claims about racist language and player segregation are, in his view, “all true”.
He added: “It’s affected my friends who I am close with till this day.”
Anti-racism campaigner Shaun Campbell told Sky News he was horrified by the allegations: “If true, then this would be apartheid, in its latest form, and in the UK.
“It belongs in the past, not in the present, and not in the future, it’s an ultra-low point in the fight against racism and discrimination.”
Sky Sports understands that seven footballers took their complaints to the PFA who are investigating – the FA and the club’s new American owners have also started investigations.
Last night, Crawley Town held a fan’s forum at their ground where supporters were told they could not ask questions about the matter because of the ongoing investigations.
After the meeting season ticket holder, Chris Cheshire told Sky News she was disturbed by what is being alleged.
“It concerns all of us very deeply….but we have to wait for facts and evidence,” he said.
“If they prove not to be true then he will presumably continue – if there is a shred of truth in them, he has got to go.”
The club was recently brought by American investors who suspended Mr Yems 11 days ago, when they discovered what was being alleged.
‘They sound like very serious allegations’
The owners declined an interview request from Sky News but they have previously described the allegations as “serious and credible”.
The chief executive of football’s equality organisation Kick It Out, Tony Burnett, told Sky News: “They’re not talking about micro-aggressions, they sound like very serious allegations.
“We’re very pleased that the authorities are taking it seriously and are doing what they need to do to get to the bottom of it.
“When we get to the conclusion, we’d expect transparency and for them to hold the game to account for doing the right thing when it comes to the next steps.”
A spokesperson for the FA said: “We are aware of allegations made against Crawley Town manager John Yems.
“We are treating the allegations extremely seriously and are currently conducting an investigation into them. We cannot comment further until that has concluded.”
Mr Yems has not yet responded to requests for comment.
Crawley Town are currently 12th in League Two and Lewis Young, brother of former England star Ashley Young, has taken over running the first team for the final game of the season this weekend.