WELLINGTON PHOENIX star Paul Ifill was racially abused by a spectator during Sunday's A-League loss to Adelaide United in Adelaide.
The spectator was heard to call Ifill, an English-born Barbados international, a derogatory racial term during Adelaide's 3-1 defeat of Wellington at Hindmarsh Stadium.
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert refused to confirm the racial nature of the abuse, stating: ''It's not for me to confirm or not.''
But an Adelaide United spokesman said the club was aware of it.
''We will investigate the matter,'' the spokesman said.
Ifill confirmed he was racially abused. ''Bad times poor result and racist abuse from a very small minority of fans #nothappy,'' he posted on Twitter.
Police and security staff at the ground were informed of the racial abuse and police are investigating.
A Football Federation Australia spokesman said the governing body would also investigate the incident.
''FFA will investigate any incidence of racial vilification,'' the spokesman said.
Ifill was substituted in the 61st minute of the loss to Adelaide United.
After he was taken off, Herbert was seen to turn around and appeared to look for the abusive spectator.
But Herbert was reluctant to expand on the racial vilification post-match.
''You may want to ask the club [Adelaide],'' Herbert told reporters.
''There was a few comments that we have shared with the club officials … with regards to a player.
''It would probably be best to talk to the club, Adelaide.''
Asked whether the comments were racial, Herbert said: ''It's not for me to confirm or not. Go through that process of talking to the club.''
Ifill, who has played for Millwall, Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, was prominent in Wellington's loss to Adelaide.
The Reds prevailed mainly through the brilliance of their Argentine ace Marcelo Carrusca, who scored twice and created another goal for Fabio Ferreira.
Carrusca's brace came in a five-minute span in the first half, and his visionary pass to Ferreira on the stroke of half-time ensured a 3-0 lead for Adelaide, who opened an eight-point break on third-placed Melbourne Victory with the win.
United sit one point behind league leaders Central Coast, while Wellington, who scored an 81st minute consolation through Dani Sanchez, remain in seventh spot.