OMAR BUGIEL was called a ‘P*** b*****d’ at a League Two game last Saturday — and said: “This isn’t the culture I want my two little girls to grow up in.”
Bugiel, 30, who has daughters Bria, four, and Bonnie, two, with wife Lauren, said: “It’s sickening to think someone would say such a thing.
“I can’t believe this is still happening in football — and especially in a multi-cultural city like Bradford.
“This isn’t the culture I want my two little girls to grow up in.”
Towards the end of Saturday’s goalless draw at Valley Parade, ref Ross Joyce halted proceedings after a spectator was heard abusing the Wimbledon forward.
Bugiel said: “I went down after being fouled and took my time getting up because I’d received a kick to my shin.
“The home crowd were getting angry and vocal because they wanted the game to restart quickly.
“But, just as we were about to take the free-kick, the ref stopped to speak to one of his assistants.
“It was only a few minutes later, when the game had finished, that the ref approached me and said, ‘Omar, something racist was said towards you, the linesman picked it up’.
Even though I didn’t hear the racist abuse on Saturday, it’s upsetting to think that was directed at me just because I look a bit different.
“It was then explained a spectator had said, ‘Get up, you P*** b*****d’.
“I was shocked because it’s the second time that specific word has been used against me.
“When I was at Sutton, we played Barrow in April 2022 and it was said to me face-to-face. That really shook me because I’d never experienced racism on a personal level.
“Although, that particular season my team-mate Coby Rowe was racially abused during a game at Crawley.”
Berlin-born Bugiel was brought up in Germany by his Lebanese dad Khaled and Polish mum Ewa. He moved to the UK aged 16 after his mother paid for him to study English in Chichester.
The winger, who fully embraced and enjoyed English culture, became a professional footballer for Forest Green, Sutton and the Dons after doing the hard yards in non-league with Selsey, Burgess Hill, Bognor Regis, Bromley and Worthing.
He became the first Lebanese international to play in the EFL and score at Wembley — having netted for Bromley in the 2018 FA Trophy final.
Bugiel, whose side face Barrow on Saturday, said: “Even though I didn’t hear the racist abuse on Saturday, it’s upsetting to think that was directed at me just because I look a bit different.
“The language might have been heard by others of a particular ethnicity or children in the crowd. It’s very sad.
“At Barrow, a middle-aged guy directed the P-word at me.
“I immediately reported that incident to the referee. The culprit was arrested by police for questioning and it turns out he had been drinking.
“I completely understand emotions in football can run high — but I don’t understand how anyone can then turn that into racial abuse.
“I’d never dream of even criticising someone I’ve never met.
“What is ironic about Saturday is they even had ‘Show Racism the Red Card’ displayed on the screens before kick-off.”
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has called for clubs who have a match abandoned due to racism to forfeit the game.
But Bugiel is not convinced that is the answer. He said: “No one wants to see a game forfeited and I don’t think that would necessarily work.
“However, if it gets to the point where the abuse from the terraces doesn’t stop, then they should perhaps play a game behind closed doors or face a points deduction if they continually step out of line.
“Ultimately it’s down to the home team to control their spectators.”
Bradford are co-operating with West Yorkshire Police to identify the fan and confirmed that anyone found to be racist in their stadium will receive an immediate life ban.