South African Footballer ‘Racially Abused’ In Europa League Game

Lebogang Phiri

Lebogang Phiri
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South African junior international Lebogang Phiri said he was racially abused by an opponent after his side’s 3-0 loss to Greek club Panathinaikos in the Europa League on Thursday night.

The Brondby midfielder was left shocked by the incident in which he claims Sweden international Marcus Berg called him a “monkey”. The remark was allegedly also heard by Phiri’s teammate‚ Rudolph Austin‚ who attempted to confront Berg.

“Marcus Berg went past me in the tunnel and called me a monkey‚” Phiri told Ekstra Bladet. “I have never‚ ever experienced anything like this. It is a total lack of respect for other people.

“I am shocked that this could happen and certainly will not be compared to an animal. It is shocking to experience.”

Berg scored two goals in a tempestuous game in which Brondby had two players sent off.

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Brondby have reported the incident to the match commissioner and it will now be up to Uefa to decide of they will take the matter further.

Racism in European football remains a scourge and just last season former Bafana Bafana international Steven Pienaar complained of taunts while playing for then club Everton in an English FA Cup tie against Carlisle.

And Thulani Serero’s Ajax Amsterdam laid a complaint against fans of Dutch league rivals ADO Den Haag last season too.

Twenty-two fans from Den Haag were identified as hurling racist abuse at defender Riechedly Bazoer.

The group made what were described as “monkey sounds” whenever Bazoer was on the ball and received stadium bans from Den Haag.

Italy has seen a number of racist incidents in recent years‚ including a match between Lazio and Napoli being stopped last season by the referee as home fans aimed abuse at visiting centre back Kalidou Koulibaly‚ a Senegalese international.

The match continued after the referee consulted both coaches and players.

Two years ago‚ bananas were thrown at AC Milan’s Kévin Constant and Nigel de Jong by fans of Atalanta‚ while in 2013 Ghana international Kevin Prince-Boateng and his Milan teammates famously walked off the pitch after racist chanting from fans of lower-league side Pro Patria during a friendly.

Russia‚ which is to host the next World Cup‚ is still regarded as a problem in terms of racism from fans‚ in part because offenders are often treated very leniently and the football association has been accused of not tackling the scourge head on.

A recent case in point was the racial abuse levelled at Congolese defender Christopher Samba by fans of Torpedo Moscow. The club was forced to close part of their stadium for one match only‚ but a frustrated Samba was also banned for two games for allegedly swearing at the offending fans.



Source: TMG Sport\Times Live

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